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New Hope in Finding Cure for Yellow Fever

August 10, 2010

SOMERSET, N.J., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Tamir Biotechnology, Inc. (Pink Sheets: ACEL) (formerly Alfacell Corporation) announced today that scientists supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) confirmed that testing of three (3) of our company’s compounds showed in vitro results rarely seen before by the U.S. government for yellow fever.

In order to determine the effectiveness of a compound, NIAID uses a Selectivity Index (SI). The SI measures EC50 (50% virus-inhibitory (effective) concentration and EC90 (90%) cell inhibitory (cytotoxic) concentration determined in stationary cells. SI= (CC50 divided by EC90). The SI scores of our three (3) compounds tested for yellow fever virus were 100, 267 and 287. According to the scientists who conducted the testing, rarely have they seen an SI above 10.

It’s been over 100 years since the United States sent three doctors, led by renowned American Army surgeon Dr. Walter Reed to Cuba to study the work of Carlos Finlay, Cuban physician and scientist who first proposed proof in 1881 that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes rather than direct human contact. It’s been seventy-three (73) years since Max Theiler, working at the Rockefeller Foundation, discovered the 17D vaccine for yellow fever. Despite the medical advances of the twentieth century, this tropical disease remains incurable.

“Due to these compelling results, the government has informed us they will be conducting studies in animal models in the near future. This study expands the potential use of our compounds (http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/news.html?d=197044) against other viruses and other life threatening diseases with the strong possibility of development of a new class of therapies. We intend to use all resources that are available to us by the government in our pursuit of discovering other viral targets for our compounds. We have only begun to see the effectiveness of our compounds outside the field of oncology. This is truly an exciting time for our company and our loyal shareholders,” stated Charles Muniz, Chief Executive Officer of Tamir.

About Yellow Fever Virus

Yellow fever is a potentially fatal RNA viral infection that’s transmitted by the Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes in tropical regions. Yellow fever virus belongs to the Flaviviridae family, other members of which cause Dengue Fever and Japanese Encephalitis. This mosquito is also responsible for the spread of the Dengue virus (http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/news.html?d=196757) in Africa, South America, and several Caribbean Islands.

Signs and Symptoms

A classic feature of yellow fever is hepatitis, which is the reason for the yellow coloring of the skin (jaundice) hence, the name of the disease. Yellow fever can cause severe illness and death. Once contracted, the virus incubates in the body for 3 to 6 days, followed by infection that can occur in one or two phases. The first, “acute,” phase usually causes fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, shivers, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting.

However, 15% of patients enter a second, more toxic phase within 24 hours of the initial remission. High fever returns and several body systems are affected. The patient rapidly develops jaundice and complains of abdominal pain with vomiting. Bleeding can occur from the mouth, nose, eyes or stomach. Once this happens, blood appears in the vomit and feces. Kidney function deteriorates. Half of the patients who enter the toxic phase die within 10 to 14 days.

Yellow fever is difficult to diagnose, especially during the early stages. It can be confused with malaria, typhoid, dengue, hepatitis and other diseases, as well as poisoning. Blood tests can detect yellow fever antibodies produced in response to the infection. Several other techniques are used to identify the virus in blood specimens or liver tissue collected after death. These tests require highly trained laboratory staff and specialized equipment and materials.

Populations at Risk

Forty-five endemic countries in Africa and Latin America, with a combined population of over 900 million, are at risk. In Africa, an estimated 508 million people live in 32 countries at risk. The remaining populations at risk are in 13 countries in Latin America, with Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru at greatest risk.

There are an estimated 200,000 cases of yellow fever causing 30,000 deaths worldwide each year. Small numbers of imported cases occur in countries free of yellow fever. Although the disease has never been reported in Asia, the region is at risk because the conditions required for transmission are present there.

Since the 1980′s there has been a dramatic re-emergence of yellow fever. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes the cases are underestimated due to poor record keeping.

Yellow Fever Historical Facts:

In her book titled “The American Plague” author Molly Cadwell Crosby recounts one of the greatest epidemics of our time. Crosby notes that the outbreak of yellow fever in Philadelphia was one of the decisive factors in moving the nation’s capital from Philadelphia (1790-1800) to Washington, D.C., after the devastating epidemic in 1793.

In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte lost 23,000 of his troops to yellow fever during the Haitian Revolution. With this loss, Napoleon abandoned his conquest in North America, selling his large Louisiana holdings to Thomas Jefferson in what we now know today as the Louisiana Purchase.

During the American Civil War, yellow fever would serve as one of this country’s first forms of biological warfare. Dr. Luke Blackburn, who would later become Kentucky’s governor, tried to infect Union Troops by providing them with clothing exposed to smallpox and yellow fever. (At that time, no one knew that yellow fever can only be transmitted through mosquito bites.)

About NIAID

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) our Nation’s Medical Research Agency. NIH is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria, and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism.

About Tamir Biotechnology, Inc.

Tamir Biotechnology, Inc. (formerly Alfacell Corporation) is the first company to advance a biopharmaceutical product candidate that works in a manner similar to RNA interference (RNAi) through late-stage clinical trials. The product candidate, ONCONASE®, is an RNase that overcomes the challenges of targeting RNA for therapeutic purposes while enabling the development of a new class of targeted therapies for cancer, viruses, and other life-threatening diseases. For more information, visit www.tamirbio.com.

Safe Harbor: This press release includes statements that may constitute “forward-looking” statements, usually containing the words “believe,” “estimate,” “project,” “expect” or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. Factors that would cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, uncertainty whether the clinical trial results will allow the company to complete submission of a New Drug Application and if a New Drug Application submission is completed, uncertainty whether FDA will file or approve such application, uncertainties involved in transitioning from concept to product, uncertainties involving the ability of the company to finance research and development activities, potential challenges to or violations of patents, uncertainties regarding the outcome of clinical trials or differences of opinion in interpreting the results of clinical trials, the company’s ability to secure necessary approvals from regulatory agencies, dependence upon third-party vendors, and other risks discussed in the company’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. By making these forward-looking statements, the company undertakes no obligation to update these statements for revisions or changes after the date of this release.

SOURCE Tamir Biotechnology, Inc.


Source: newswire



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