Oct. 29, 2010, 11:36 a.m.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the drugmaker Roche in July began testing "a drug initially developed for hepatitis C to see if it helps patients with dengue fever," a disease the WHO estimates infects 50 million people annually. According to the news service, "[a]s many as 100 patients may potentially be recruited for the study, sponsored by Basel, Switzerland-based Roche, [Jeremy] Farrar [one of the researchers involved in the Roche trial] said. It's the first of three stages of clinical trials that regulators usually require to approve a new medicine. Doctors will also look to see whether by using an antiviral to fight the infection, patients can avoid bleeding complications linked to an exaggerated immune response, he said." The article notes the relationship between the hepatitis C and dengue viruses, the growing number of dengue cases globally and the annual dengue-related productivity and health care costs (Gale, 10/26).