Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes a common symptomatic infection of the respiratory tract and lungs. While it often resolves spontaneously, RSV has the potential to become clinically severe – leading to bronchiolitis (infection of the small airways in the lungs) and pneumonia.
Patients at high risk for severe RSV infection include premature infants, older adults (particularly those 65 years and older), people with underlying conditions such as chronic lung disease or cardiac disease, and people with compromised immune systems.
Globally, RSV affects an estimated 64 million people annually. The US Center for Disease Control reports that in the US alone, each year more than 177,000 older adults are hospitalized, and approximately 14,000 older adults die from diseases associated with or exacerbated by an RSV infection. In addition to older adults, it is estimated that RSV results in 3.2 million hospital admissions in children younger than five years of age including 75,000 to 125,000 child hospitalizations in the United States.
Currently, there are no safe, effective and widely available pharmaceutical treatments for RSV infections. Ribavirin is the only approved treatment, but it has questionable efficacy and documented toxicity with many side effects.
Atea has discovered and is evaluating several targeted nucleoside prodrugs with the potential to treat RSV infections – including AT-889, AT-934 and other product candidates. These compounds are being studied to assess in vitro activity and selective inhibitory effects for RSV.
We believe AT-889, AT-934 or one of our other product candidates for RSV has the potential to inhibit both the initiation of viral replication, as well as viral transcription. We plan to develop our product candidate in both oral and parenteral dosage formulations.