The Clinically Validated Viral Superinfection Therapy (SIT) Platform Technology May Mitigate Severe Cases of COVID-19 Infections
Imre Kovesdi, Marc Van Ranst, Peter M. Chumakov, Volker Sandig, Tibor Bakacs
The transmission characteristic of COVID-19 is of similar magnitude to severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the 1918 pandemic influenza. There is no current evidence from random clinical trials (RCTs) to recommend any specific anti-COVID-19 treatment for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. In order to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, here we propose an innovative superinfection therapeutic (SIT) strategy, which could complement the development of prophylactic vaccines. SIT is based on clinical observations that unrelated viruses might interact in co-infected patients. During SIT, the patient benefit from superinfection with an apathogenic dsRNA virus such as the infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV), which is a powerful activator of the interferon-dependent antiviral gene program. An attenuated vaccine strain of IBDV was already successfully administered to resolve acute and persistent infections induced by two completely different viruses, the hepatitis B (DNA) and C (RNA) viruses (HBV/HCV). Importantly, the epidemiological efficacy of a similar strategy to SIT had already been successfully tested in large controlled trials. Standard live orally administered enterovirus vaccines that stimulate the production of endogenous interferon of the host mitigated the seasonal outbreaks of influenza and other associated acute respiratory infections in 152,042 individuals without adverse reactions.