Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV)

Human Metapeunovirus’ (hMPV) worldwide distribution and seasonal circulation is comparable to that of influenza virus and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Furthermore, hMPV is responsible for a significant proportion of respiratory disease varying from mild upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) to more severe lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) across all age groups in both healthy and immunocompromised hosts (Haas, Thijsen et al. 2013).

HMPV represents a substantial burden of hospitalization during the first 5 years of life (Edwards, Zhu et al. 2013). After RSV, hMPV is the second most common cause of RTI and bronchitis in young children. In particular, hMPV accounts for the highest infection rates in infants younger than one year of age (Edwards, Zhu et al. 2013). HMPV can cause severe diseases such as RTI, croup, bronchitis and pneumonia in young children, which in some cases results in fatality (Anderson, Simões et al. 2012; Edwards, Zhu et al. 2013).

Although hMPV was primarily known to cause RTI in children, this virus is an important causative agent of RI in adults. The proportion of hMPV infection in adults is greater than that of influenza A and similar to the annual average infection rate for RSV (Haas, Thijsen et al. 2013).

Increased recognition of disease severity and clinical feature similarities of hMPV to other respiratory infections emphasize the necessity for specific diagnostic methods for accurate viral identification (Edwards, Zhu et al. 2013). Optimization of commercial diagnostic reagents and sensitive detection methods does not only contribute to prevent misdiagnosis, but it also enhances our awareness regarding cost-effectiveness.

To this end, ViroNovative BV can co-develop diagnostics, vaccines, antibodies and antivirals for the detection, prevention and treatment of hMPV infection. Since its inception the company has licensed out technology for diagnostics to 20 major diagnostic companies. ViroNovative BV controls all relevant background and foreground IP for the patent holder, Erasmus MC. Furthermore, new IP concerning vaccines and antibodies has been developed and filed.