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An alternative to eliminating the mosquito

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:23 GMT

Author: David Moskowitz
Position: MD/CEO
Institution: GenoMed, Inc.
Submitted Date: March 18, 2008
Published Date: March 25, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

My biotech company has had encouraging results treating West Nile virus encephalitis since 2003: 81% treatment success rate in people (22 of 27), 75% in horses (6 of 8), and 50% in birds (6 of 12).

Our approach works best when people first have symptoms of a fever and headache. But we’ve been able to help people even a few years after the initial episode of WNV encephalitis.

Our first 8 WNV patients were published in a peer-reviewed medical journal in 2004 (1).

The drugs we use--ACEI's and ARB's, depending on the patient's blood pressure--are already approved by the FDA for blood pressure. They seem to be anti-inflammatory, too. People with a normal immune system who get sick from the West Nile virus appear to overdo their immune response to the virus. Our approach is meant to gently calm down their exaggerated immune response.

This may be a general approach for most viral diseases in most vertebrate species, excepting perhaps the herpesviridae, which induce a state of immunosuppression in the host.

In particular, it should work for avian influenza in humans and poultry.


1: Moskowitz DW, Johnson FE. The central role of angiotensin I-converting enzyme in vertebrate pathophysiology. Curr Top Med Chem. 2004;4(13):1433-54. PMID: 15379656 (For PDF file, click on paper #6 at: -- see Table 2 for WNV patients

Competing interests declared: I am CEO of GenoMed, a for-profit biotech company that has applied for US patents on using ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) for viral diseases.