Dr. John Chia is an infectious disease specialist in Torrance, California and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Providence Little Company of Mary and Torrance Memorial Medical Center. He received his medical degree from David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and has been in practice for 36 years. Dr. Chia has the most experience treating patients infected with EV.
His interest in enteroviruses and CFS happened by chance. After his son Andrew came down with an unknown illness, Dr. Chia solved his son's illness by connecting CFS/ME and enteroviruses. Today, he sees thousands of patients infected with EV, and has the ideal patient population for clinical trials.
John Chia, MD, is the President of EV Med Research, Owner/Physician at Infectious Disease Med, and Assistant Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. Dr. Chia is an infectious disease specialist and studies the role of enteroviral infections in diseases like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)., which has been a real challenge for practicing physicians and scientific researchers. To read about Dr. Chia, click here
Dr. John K. Chia and Dr. Andrew Y. Chia from EV Med in Lomita, California, looked for enterovirus in the stomach biopsy specimens of CFS patients, after so many of them complained of stomach aches and other GI related symptoms. They found that 82% of these stomach biopsy specimens tested positive for enterovirus, compared with only 20 percent of stomach biopsy specimens from controls.
Dr. Johan Neyts, Rega Institute
Dr. Johan Neyts, PhD., is full professor of virology at the Rega Institute for Medical Research, at University of Leuven, Belgium. He is senior scientist in charge of the laboratory that focuses on the development of novel antivirals against a number of viruses including picornaviruses.
The focus of the Rega group is the discovery of novel small molecules and antiviral strategies against a number of RNA viruses, including Enteroviruses. On a state-of-the-art antiviral screenings platform, hit-to-lead optimization is carried out in collaboration with medicinal chemistry labs. The Rega lab also develops small animal models that allow the evaluation of antiviral efficacy in vivo.
The small molecule inhibitors are being studied by researcher Dr. Henrik Jan Thibaut, who received a Masters degree in science in 2004 and a PhD in October 2012 at the University of Leuven, Belgium.
Dr. Johan Neyts, PhD
Rega Institute at Leuven, Belgium
Johan Neyts and his staff
The Rega Institute, together with the Korean Research Institute for Chemical technology (KRICT) and the KU Leuven Center for Drug Design & Discovery (CD3) have jointly developed a series of rhinovirus and enterovirus inhibitors.
These compounds were licensed to a major pharmaceutical company.
Andrea and Pieter at Rega
Pieter Leyssen, PhD, is the research manager and Industrial Research Fellow at the Rega Institute. His responsibilities include:
Optimization of virus-cell-based assays for the discovery and development of novel inhibitors of viral replication and implementation thereof on a liquid handling platform for medium- to high-throughput screening
Discovery and development of novel inhibitors of viral replication for picornaviruses, especially enteroviruses
Study of the mechanism of action of compounds
Pieter is a smart and creative soul who is dedicated to developing an antiviral treatment for patieints infected with EV. I had the opportunity to meet Pieter in Belgium, and was able to explain what life is really like for humans who suffer chronic enteroviral infections.
Dr. Erik DeClercq, Rega Institute
Dr. Erik DeClercq has been studying Enteroviruses, particularly Coxsackie B-3 Virus for over 30 years. He was Johan Neyts' professor, and their research focused on the development of new therapies against viral infections. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. DeClercq in person, and he certainly enjoyed meeting someone like Dr. Chia from California, who actually sees patients chronically infected with enterovirus, not mice in the laboratory.
The replication cycle of Enteroviruses require specific steps like the HIV life cycle. Since HIV treatment is so successful with combo therapy today, then maybe combination therapy could also be an effective treatment for EV patients.
Eric DeClercq from Belgium
For his pioneering efforts in antiviral research, Professor De Clercq received in 1996 the Aventis award from the American Society for Microbiology, and in 2000 the Maisin Prize for Biomedical Sciences from the Belgian National Science Foundation.
In 2008 he was elected Inventor of the Year by the European Union. Jointly with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Prof. De Clercq received the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research in 2010.
Dr. De Clercq invented or was the co-inventor of these approved antiviral drugs:
* Hepsera for HBV
*Vistide for CMV
* Viread for HIV
* Brivirac for VZV
* Zelitrex for HSV
Industry and University Leaders
The SILVER project is developing new strategies for controlling the emerging and neglected RNA viruses,not including HIV, influenza or hepatitis C, which have been covered under other EU Calls.
SILVER is a drug discovery-based research programme to identify and develop, potential inhibitors of RNA viruses that fall into 2 classes:
1. Priority viruses (Flaviviridae, Picornaviridae and Paramyxoviridae)
The SILVER project is a consortium of scientists across the EU that specialize in:
SILVER created a pipeline strategy for drug discovery: It comprised six work packages:
1. cell-culture based screening of compound libraries and mechanism of action studies
2. structure-function analysis of viral enzymes in replication complexes
3. structure and fragment-based drug design and hit-to-lead chemical modification
4. proof of concept (PoC) analysis incorporating toxicity studies and in vivo models
5. route to market and licencing to pharma
6. project management
Biota focuses their research and drug development capabilities on discovering and developing small molecule compounds that can prevent or treat infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are caused by pathogens that are present in the environment, such as viruses and bacteria, which enter the body through various means and overwhelm its natural defenses and cause an infection.
Biota is researching Rhinoviruses, which replicate the same way as Enteroviruses. Biota is currently working on 3 human rhinovirus (HRV) species: A, B and C, which are closely related to the EV and the diseases they cause.
Biota's leading antiviral candidate, BTA-798 is completing its phase 2 studies in Rhinovirus patients.
Galapagos runs Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials for drug candidates. There alliance partners then have the option to license the drug.
Galapagos’ mission is to discover targets (proteins), that play a key role in causing diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and fibrosis.
Galapagos aims to develop small molecules that inhibit these targets, restore the balance, and thereby positively influence the course of the disease. This approach addresses the root cause of the disease rather than just treating the symptoms.
Gilead Sciences is also collaborating with galapagos, and funding their research. They entered into a collaboration for the global development and commercialization of filgotinib in inflammatory diseases in December 2015. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will collaborate jointly on the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Crohns disease, and other inflammatory diseases.
VIZIER Project, Europe
VIZIER's project team brings together leading authorities on RNA viruses in the European Union and elsewhere. They are trying to understand the sequence, structure and function of these enzymes, so we can greatly advance our understanding of how RNA viruses replicate.
The project aims to identify new drug targets against RNA viruses by characterizing their mode of action, and where they exert their antiviral effect in the replication cycle.
The VIZIER project includes enteroviruses.
Alios BioPharma Inc., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company in South San Francisco, California that is developing novel antiviral therapies for the treatment of respiratory diseases.
Founded in 2008, Alios’ virology discovery and development platform consists of a proprietary chemical library of nucleoside analogs as well as novel virology-based screening systems. Alios is developing a portfolio of potential therapeutics for viral infections including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, rhinovirus, and coronavirus.
Uppsala University, Sweden Europe
In Sweden, they research how Type 1 diabetes (T1D) results from destruction of pancreatic beta cells.
Enteroviruses have been detected in various tissues, blood, gut and pancreas in patients with T1D, suggesting an association between these viruses and the disease.
The research team includes the pathologist Dr.Alkwin Wanders, and the virus researchers Dr. Gun Frisk and Dr. Oskar Skog at Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital.
The group also researches the role of enteroviruses in Crohn's disease, testing the GI tract for the virus. read here
UNMC, Nebraska USA
The Enterovirus Research Group at the University of Nebraska Medical Center consists of a team of talented and experienced scientists which have interests in enterovirus biology, pathogenesis and immunology. Their goal is to apply diverse research interests and talents to understand basic questions of enterovirus biology. These results can then be applied to defeating enterovirus-induced diseases, as well as complement their knowledge of these important human viruses.
Steven Tracy, PhD.
Nora Chapman, PhD
Steven Carson, PhD
Steven Tracy, PhD., studies the biology of Coxsackie B Viruses (all six subtypes). He also studies the pathogenesis, replication, and evolution of the virus. Dr. Tracy emphasizes the need to understand the relationship of important human enteroviruses to diverse human disease.
Nora Chapman, PhD., studies the molecular biology of enteroviruses in cardiac disease. Her laboratory also collaborates with Dr. Steven Tracy on the detection of human enteroviruses in the pancreas and cardiac tissues. Dr. Tracy's work on type I diabetes has recently been reinforced by new findings of enteroviruses in the pancreas of type I diabetics.
Dr. Steven Carson, PhD., studies the turcture and function of membrane receptors for coxsackie viruses and adenoviruses. This encompasses studies of protein structure/function relationships, lipid/protein interactions, enzyme kinetics, and cell biology.
Dr. Tracy has studied the molecular biology, pathogenesis, and immunology of the Group B coxsackieviruses for 25 years. He cloned and characterized the RNA genomes of these viruses, demonstrated their ability to express proteins and antigenic epitopes, and explored their etiologic involvement in inflammatory heart disease. In additional collaboration, he developed new models to study the involvement of these viruses in either preventing or inducting type 1 diabetes. Most recently he collaborated in the discovery of a novel and unsuspected mechanism by which human enteroviruses can persist for long periods of time in the immune host.
Dr. Tracy is married to Nora Chapman, who are further investigating Dr. John Chia’s work in regards to enterovirus in the gut biopsies.