Infectious Diseases

The elimination of infectious disease has been a goal within reach of researchers since the global eradication of smallpox was officially endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 1980. Now, the immunization schedule for newborns provides protection against up to 14 infections, effectively eliminating some of these pathogens from countries with these programs. However, waning immunity, non-human reservoirs, rapid viral evolution rates, mother to infant transmission, the growing resistance to vaccination in developed countries and political instability in non-developed countries have all proven to be roadblocks to control and eradication of infectious diseases and doctors need additional therapeutic tools in their toolbox to continue to effectively fight and stave off infections.

Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)

Despite childhood vaccination efforts and antiviral medications, the rate of hepatitis B infection remains constant in the U.S. with the CDC estimating over 20,000 acute infections each year and over 800,000 people living with chronic HBV infection. The World Health Organization estimates the global number of chronic HBV infections at over 250 million, with most infections in endemic areas occurring from mother to child at birth before a vaccination can be effective. While antiviral medications can control the replication of the virus, there is currently no cure and life-long antiviral therapy is required to prevent further liver damage and increased cancer risk.

Curing this large human reservoir of chronically infected people is crucial to reducing HBV-associated morbidities and mortalities. Seraph Research Institute is spearheading this effort with a novel and proprietary mechanism of action that directly targets the virus at its source and doesn’t simply slow or halt replication like antivirals but actually destroys the viral blueprints in the liver.

Influenza (Flu)

Increasing global travel and rapid viral evolution continue to fuel the annual flu epidemics. Widespread public health campaigns to vaccinate are able to prevent some infections, but efficacy of the vaccine varies by year depending on the dominant strains of the year.  An estimated 45 million Americans were infected by the influenza virus in the 2017-2018 season resulting in over 800,000 hospitalizations and 61,000 deaths. The Seraph Research team is developing new treatments to reduce the severity and length of infection and help prevent the high number of deaths each year.