AIM ImmunoTech provides update on Ampligen long COVID development program.
AIM ImmunoTech Inc. provided an update on its ongoing efforts to develop an effective therapeutic for “Long COVID” with its investigational drug, Ampligen.
Long COVID – also referred to as Post-COVID conditions by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – presents as a wide range of health problems. The CDC’s current list of Post-COVID conditions includes 18 different health issues. Approximately one-half of these overlap with symptoms seen in patients with Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). SARS-related diseases have a history of inducing similar symptoms (See: AMA cited below).
A Phase III prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of rintatolimod (Ampligen) in ME/CFS (AMP-516) produced objective improvement in exercise tolerance. An analysis of a subset of patients in that trial with early onset of symptoms showed a statistically significant 51.2% positive response (p=0.003) (See: PLOS ONE cited below).
In an amendment to its ongoing, FDA-authorized AMP-511 (See: ClinicalTrials.gov) expanded access program (EAP), AIM enrolled four post-COVID patients with new onset ME/CFS following acute COVID-19. Following at least 12 weeks of Ampligen treatment, each of these four patients indicated they had experienced a reduction in fatigue, as measured via Patient-Reported Outcomes questionnaires. A statistical analysis of these data indicated that the decrease in fatigue compared to baseline was statistically significant (p<0.003), despite the small number of patients.
Based in part on these early positive data, AIM is working toward filing an Investigational New Drug (“IND”) application with the FDA for a Phase II study of Ampligen for the treatment of Post-COVID conditions. The newly planned IND is for 12 weeks of therapy.
AIM Chief Medical Officer David Strayer, MD, stated: “AIM believes these results are especially encouraging and justify conducting a placebo-controlled study to attempt to confirm these findings. Evidence from the AMP-516 study indicated that severe ME/CFS patients with a shorter time from onset of ME/CFS symptoms as a group responded better than those with a longer duration of illness. Although the time scale is much more condensed, the results from these four patients indicating improvement in fatigue in only 12 weeks is consistent with the hypothesis that a shorter duration of illness prior to treatment may improve responses to Ampligen.”
Charles Lapp, MD, Principal Investigator for AMP-511 at Hunter-Hopkins Center in Charlotte, N.C., stated: “Four subjects with Long COVID – or Post-Acute Sequelae of Covid (PASC) – have shown significant improvement in fatigue and their ability to be active, as measured by an 11-point Likert scale. Three of the four have also reported improvement in their post-exertion malaise. The results have been so successful that two have asked to continue Ampligen therapy. I have been very pleased with these results and see potential for the therapeutic benefit of Ampligen in other persons with Long COVID. I am excited to move forward with a larger study of Ampligen for Long Haulers (PASC).”
Oved Amitay, President and CEO of the advocacy organization Solve M.E., stated: “Long COVID is a public health crisis and patients are struggling to access safe and effective therapeutics. We are encouraged that AIM ImmunoTech is engaging with the patient communities to learn about their unmet needs. We are hopeful about the potential of the drug Ampligen in Long COVID and ME/CFS. There is a great interest in the study because drugs that combat viruses, as well as affecting the immune system, could provide a significant benefit to people with these post-infection diseases. The FDA must work with drug developers and patient advocates to enable the rapid initiation of these important studies on this and other promising treatments.”
See- December 14, 2009: "Mental Morbidities and Chronic Fatigue in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Survivors Long-term Follow-up": Marco Ho-Bun Lam, FHKAM(Psych); Yun-Kwok Wing, FRCPsych; Mandy Wai-Man Yu, MPH et al.Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(22):2142-2147. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.384.
See- "Effect of disease duration in a randomized Phase III trial of rintatolimod, an immune modulator for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome."- David R. Strayer, Diane Young, William M. Mitchell Published: October 29, 2020. (PLOS ONE)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240403.
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