VIENNA, Va., May 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The following letter is being released by CEL-SCI CORPORATION to its shareholders:
Dear Fellow Shareholders:
Articles published in the press give the impression that the bird flu is a potential problem only if it arrives in our backyard, and as result, most Americans, according to recent opinion polls, are still not worried about it. They are wrong, because the scenario that will bring about the feared pandemic is quite different from that suggested by the press. The scenario also exposes gaps in the plan to protect the population from this new virus. Fortunately, regardless of what is reported in the press, it is clear from our work with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), that the NIAID is very focused on preparing the world for this potential pandemic.
The current bird flu virus is not the virus that we should fear. The one that we should fear is the "new" and as of yet, undefined virus that will emerge when the bird flu virus and a human flu virus combine. That new virus is likely to express the properties of the bird flu and human flu viruses, i.e., the high mortality rate of the bird flu virus and the airborne transmissibility from one human to another human of the human flu virus. The locale where the fusion of the two viruses is likely to occur and get out of control is a place where humans, chickens and pigs are kept in close proximity, such as China and Vietnam. Pigs could be important because pigs are easily infected with the human viruses. Wherever pigs live around chickens, you will find the perfect breeding place for the creation of this new virus.
Imagine this scenario: The new virus, part human, part bird, is created in some Far Eastern country and infects a visitor. This infected person gets on a local flight. The re-circulated air on the plane causes the majority of the other passengers to become infected with the new virus. Some of the passengers continue on flights to major metropolitan cities around the world. As these people continue on their long flights, they infect yet other passengers, some of whom will travel to additional destinations. It will be several days, at best, until the first passenger is admitted to a hospital and the new virus is identified. By that time, the virus will have been spread and who knows how many people will have been infected.
Governments will try to identify where the infected people are and quarantine affected areas. They will mass vaccinate with the bird flu vaccine and give out anti-viral drugs. The vaccinations, hopefully protective against the new virus, will take time to administer, and it will take each vaccinated person weeks, at best, to establish protective immunity. The New England Journal of Medicine ("NEJM"), March 30, 2006, publication of the results of the first human testing of a H5N1 bird flu vaccine, reported that it took the vaccine about 6 weeks to induce a protective immune response in 54 percent of the volunteers tested.
What about the doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, and all of the first responders who will be taking care of the infected people? How are they going to be protected? They will be the first to be vaccinated, but the vaccinations will not protect them for quite some time, if the vaccine even works against the new virus. How many of them will still be around after a few weeks, and what will happen to our health care system?
We need a medicine that can protect people quickly and do so against a virus that has not yet been identified. While that may sound like science fiction, there may be a way to achieve this through the activation of the body's innate immune system. The innate immune system is our earliest immune system and provides us with front-line protection every day. It encounters potential pathogens routinely, but these pathogens only (e.g. antibodies) respond.
Since the innate immune system has to protect very quickly, it is non- specific, which means that it can deal with many different diseases. Our CEL- 1000 drug, which is being tested by the NIAID against bird flu in animal models, activates innate immunity. CEL-1000 has been shown to protect animals against death from viruses and parasites.
If the activation of the innate immunity alone against the bird flu virus is not enough to defeat it, the addition of CEL-1000 to the bird flu vaccine may create a more effective vaccine. A vaccine containing CEL-1000 should activate the innate human immune system response and reinforce the adaptive immune system response. The innate immune system would represent the first line of defense, quickly established but potentially more easily overwhelmed, followed by the second line of defense, adaptive immunity, taking longer to establish, but presumably stronger.
Talk to your congressman, senator and doctor about this. Educate them and keep them focused on this issue. We see the scientific community very focused on this potential problem, but we need to ensure that the politicians continue to give it their full attention and support.
Geert Kersten Maximilian de Clara
Chief Executive Officer President
When used in this report, the words "intends," "believes," "anticipated" and "expects" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, an inability to duplicate the clinical results demonstrated in clinical studies, timely development of any potential products that can be shown to be safe and effective, receiving necessary regulatory approvals, difficulties in manufacturing any of the Company's potential products, inability to raise the necessary capital and the risk factors set forth from time to time in CEL-SCI Corporation's SEC filings, including but not limited to its report on Form 10- K for the year ended September 30, 2005. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revision to these forward-looking statements which may be made to reflect the events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.