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AVI BioPharma Reports Positive Pre-Clinical Influenza Data

e. These include three subtypes that caused pandemics in the 20th century -- the 1918 Spanish flu (H1N1), the 1957 Asian flu (H2N2) and the 1968 Hong Kong flu (H3N2) -- and three subtypes of avian flu that have been reported to cause disease in humans (H5N1, H7N7 and H9N2). AVI's potential treatment for seasonal influenza A will be made available to potential licensees.

About Influenza A Viruses

Influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. On average 5 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. population is infected with the flu each year. Influenza A virus is an enveloped negative-strand RNA virus, with eight genome segments that code for 10 proteins. Influenza strains are subtyped according to the antigenic and genetic nature of their surface glycoproteins: hemagglutinin (HA or H) and neuraminidase (NA or N). Fifteen H and nine N subtypes have been identified, with three associated with widespread human disease (H1N1, H2N2 and H3N2). In addition, several subtypes of avian influenza virus -- H5N1, H7N7 and H9N2 -- can infect and cause disease in humans.

The current influenza pandemic in birds throughout Asia, Eastern Europe and Turkey is caused by the H5N1 subtype. It is thought that co-infection of humans or certain animals (such as pigs) with both H1N1 and H5N1 can lead to a reassortment or recombination of viral particles, resulting in the emergence of a virus with dangerous public health properties, namely one to which the human population has no natural immunity and which has the ability to spread easily from person to person. It is believed that emergence of avian flu by this general mechanism may have led to the worldwide pandemics of 1918, 1957 and 1968.

About AVI BioPharma

AVI BioPharma develops therapeutic products for the treatment of life-threatening diseases using third-generation NEUGENE antisense drugs and ESPRIT exon skipping technology. AVI's lead NEUGENE antisense compound is design
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