Adenovirus Infection is More Common Than Thought

The adenovirus infection has been underestimated for many years. Its presence within the human body can cause a wide array of health concerns and irreversible damage. A cure is still being studied, therefore expecting to overcome an adenovirus infection might take longer than desired. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is primarily responsible for overseeing the well-being of the public by regulating what health-related products can and cannot be administered safely. The approval procedures before any drug is allowed to be publicly administered is a long process, from animal testing to clinical trials, which may take several years before a drug is finalized for marketing. One small child, Josh Hardy, a 7-year-old who has undergone tremendous heroic efforts to overcome heart failure, four episodes of kidney cancer, and a bone marrow transplant, cannot afford the time to patiently wait for the FDA’s approval of his one and only hope and chance for survival after contracting a deadly viral infection.

Josh was diagnosed with having an adenovirus infection after having undergone a bone marrow transplant in January, 2014. The drug Brincidofovir could clear up the infection in a matter of two weeks. Aimee Hardy, Josh’s mother, has consistently made public pleas for help and says she is in infuriated that she has to leave her son’s side to campaign for the compassionate support to save this child by challenging the decision of Chimerix Inc., a North Carolina drug manufacturer that initially refused to dispense a life-saving drug named Brincidofovir. But thanks to the persistent measures of the Hardy family and a vast network of supporters, Josh has finally received the compassion he needs to get the medicine he so desires.  Although the pharmaceutical company Chimerix Inc. has finally approved the unapproved public disbursement of the Brincidofovir medication to help Josh’s fight against the adenovirus, Josh still had to wait another 48 hours before he could receive it, a mere millisecond compared to how much time was spent waiting in limbo for the approval.

The adenovirus shows no respect of persons when it comes to age, race, or gender. Despite the fact that the unquestionably deadly virus would prefer the human vessel with the weakest immune system to infiltrate, contact with the virus is common within healthcare settings, schools, prisons, military quarters, and in most high-trafficked, poorly ventilated areas. This virus is notorious for breeding within the respiratory tract; a damp, dark and moist playground where the climate is perfect for sporadically multiplying, especially in the adenoids (tonsils).

Because the adenovirus mainly harbors within the respiratory system, the spread of the virus is primarily by means of either coughing or sneezing. The virus is also capable of living on a surface for a very long period of time, anywhere from several days to several weeks. For this reason, an infected person with the adenovirus is capable of contaminating just about any surface he or she touches. Consequently, surfaces that are routinely handled in public places, particularly doorknobs, handles, rails, and telephones, are generally to blame for the viral spread of the virus. In order to help reduce the chances of contracting an adenovirus infection, it is imperative to become familiarized with the proper handwashing techniques as well as seeking prompt professional medical attention if experiencing any symptoms similar to that of the common cold.

By Stephanie Tapley