Human clinical trials of BTA798 anti-viral therapy for common cold have been initiated by Biota. The compound has already proven to be effective against the human rhinovirus in lab experiments conducted on animal models. HRV currently accounts for nearly 50% and 75% of common cold suffered by adults and children respectively.
If successful results are obtained, the drug would soon be marketed. The researchers have however warned that it may not be a suitable treatment modality for everyone as common cold usually manifests as a self-limiting disease in healthy individuals. In addition, anti-viral medications are expensive compared to commonly used anti-biotics.
Patients who develop complications as a result of cold and other concommitant diseases would benefit the maximum from the new therapy. Examples include asthmatics, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), those undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy and immunocompromised individuals (HIV/AIDS patients, transplant recipients).
It has been found from U.S. statistical studies that 45 million bed days in hospitals could be atrributed to individuals who developded disease related complications as a result of common cold. It would be more sensible for these individulas to invest a few dollars for fighting the common cold rather than spending a considerble amount on hospital admission.
The health officials of Biota have remarked that the initiation of the first, independent clinical trial in Britain marked an important milestone in the company history. The results of the much-awaited trial would be released by December.