RV belongs to a diverse family of plus-strand RNA viruses referred to as picornaviridiae, which also include the human enteroviruses. There are currently three rhinovirus (RV) species: A, B and C, which together with the closely related enterovirus species, form the genus enterovirus. These viruses are responsible for human diseases ranging from mild respiratory tract infections (the “common cold”) to more serious conditions such as lower respiratory tract diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, bronchiolitis and paralytic poliomyelitis. Patients with immunocompromised immune systems are at elevated risk for the development of a RV infection. For example, RV infections have been detected in approximately 25% of hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients within the first 100 days post-transplant. RV infections are frequently accompanied by a bacterial co-infection. RV upper respiratory tract infections that progress to a lower respiratory tract infection are associated with significant mortality rates.
Individuals with chronic lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”), are especially vulnerable to RV infections, which may cause acute exacerbations of asthma, emphysema or chronic bronchitis in these more susceptible individuals and require hospitalization.
There are currently no effective treatments for infections caused by RV. We believe successfully developing a treatment for these infections can address important and unmet medical needs.