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26 October 2007
The first tests have begun in the United States of a new anti-viral drug developed at Cardiff University.
The clinical trials are on FV-100, a drug developed by Professor Chris McGuigan (pictured) at the Welsh School of Pharmacy. In vitro tests have shown it to be a powerful agent in suppressing Varicella Zoster Virus, which causes both shingles and chicken pox.
Worldwide, it is estimated that there are in excess of 2.5 million cases of shingles each year. Shingles is generally characterised by skin lesions, blisters and rash, and in many cases, post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition resulting from nerve damage caused by the virus. FV-100 also has the potential to relieve all of these painful symptoms experienced by sufferers.
The drug was licensed by the University to Fermavir Pharmaceuticals Inc, which was bought by US pharmaceutical firm Inhibitex earlier this year. The multi-million pound deal was carried out with the aim of allowing the tests to go ahead.
First results of the trial are expected before the end of the year, with the hope that a Phase II test can start in early 2008.
Professor McGuigan said: "The purpose of the Inhibitex deal was to enable the first human trials of FV-100 and it is pleasing to see how quickly this has gone ahead. There is still a long way to go but we are now very hopeful of creating a product which will alleviate suffering in hundreds of thousands of people the world over."
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