Vitalwave™ – An Overview

Vitalwave™ is the application of photodisinfection to the birth canal. It is a therapy currently under development by OrGenX Biopharma Corporation and Ondine Biomedical Inc. for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. More than 90% of HIV infections in children are caused by mother-to-child transmission. This is the equivalent of 1,600 children becoming infected with HIV every day, or one child every minute1, affecting 1 out of every 4 babies born. Vitalwave™ is intended to bypass the stigma associated with AIDS, and designed to be safe, instantly effective and inexpensive to allow for universal deployment in resource-poor counties.

It is estimated that 13-38% of all pregnant women in South Africa are HIV positive1. Current estimates indicate that 90% of HIV-positive women in resource-poor settings do not have access to antiretroviral (ARV) medication on a regular basis and often reject treatment due to fear of the stigma-related threats of violence and abandonment. In the absence of ARV treatment, a pregnant woman has a 14-42% chance of passing HIV on to their child during labour and delivery2. A higher HIV vaginal viral load in the mother is associated with an increased risk of transmission to their unborn child. Vitalwave™ is currently being designed to safely and immediately reduce the HIV vaginal viral load to low levels.

Leveraging Ondine’s global expertise in photodisinfection solutions, Vitalwave™ makes use of a photosensitive fluid/gel that when stimulated by light destroys pathogens that colonize in vaginal fluids of the birth canal and threaten the health of both mother and infant. Photodisinfection has been proven safe and effective in destroying microbes without generating resistance in over 80,000 treatments in North America & Europe with Periowave™, a photodisinfection based product for the dental market. Similarly, photodisinfection is the method by which Europeans disinfect their pooled blood plasma.

At present, the most effective treatment in PMTCT is anti-retroviral ARV therapy.  While ARV therapy goes a long way towards reducing the infant HIV mortality rate, the hurdles of ARV availability, distribution, patient compliance, and drug resistance make if far from an optimal solution. We have initiated a program to develop a photodisinfection product for PMTCT in resource poor settings.  Vitalwave™ is a novel approach to PMTCT and can provide significant advantages over current therapeutic efforts.

  1. UNAids HIV In Pregnancy/UNAids AIDS Epidemic Update 2009
  2. De Cock et al. Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission in resource-poor countries. JAMA 283(9) Mar 2000
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