Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. There are four distinct, but related, serotypes of the virus that cause dengue. The virus infects cells of the human immune system and other cell types, leading to symptoms that include high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding. In severe cases, plasma leaks out of the circulatory system and can be fatal. There is currently no specific treatment for dengue and prevention depends solely on effective vector control measures.
The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. About half of the world's population is at risk for dengue fever and a recent study estimates that approximately 390 million people are infected each year. The World Health Organization estimates that 500,000 people with severe dengue require hospitalization each year, a large proportion of who are children, and more than 20,000 of those affected die each year.
Visterra is a biotechnology company that uses its proprietary Hierotope™ Platform to identify unique disease targets and design effective therapeutics. The company's technology is powered by computational tools and techniques, called Atomic Interaction Network (AIN) analysis, which uniquely identifies an area, or epitope, on the target site that is fundamental to its structure and function. This ideal epitope, or hierotope, becomes the target against which the company designs a novel therapeutic to effectively and durably combat the disease. The company is currently focused on therapeutics for infectious diseases and its lead antibody product candidate, VIS410, is a broad spectrum human monoclonal antibody for the prevention and treatment of both seasonal and pandemic influenza. Visterra was founded based on scientific work developed in the laboratory of Dr. Ram Sasisekharan and licensed from MIT (News - Alert). For more information please visit www.visterrainc.com.