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VIRAZOLE AUTHORIZED FOR TREATMENT OF AIDS IN HUNGARY; COUNTRY IS SECOND TO AUTHORIZE DRUG FOR AIDS

        VIRAZOLE AUTHORIZED FOR TREATMENT OF AIDS IN HUNGARY;
            COUNTRY IS SECOND TO AUTHORIZE DRUG FOR AIDS
    COSTA MESA, Calif., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The national health authority of Hungary has authorized ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSE: ICN) to market the antiviral drug Virazole (ribavirin) in capsule form to halt or delay progression of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) symtoms to full-blown disease.
    Hungary is the second country to authorize the antiviral drug Virazole for treatment of AIDS.  Ireland authorized use of the drug in HIV-infected patients in mid-1990.  Submissions for permission to market Virazole for treatment of AIDS patients in additional countries outside the United States are currently pending.
    ICN said the drug would be marketed in Hungary through the ICN Galenika unit of ICN's SPI Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AMEX: SPI) subsidiary.  The patent to Virazole is held by Viratek Inc. (NASDAQ: VIRA).
    Marketing authorization was based on a review of worldwide clinical experience with Virazole against AIDS infection, including a 20-patient study by F. Varnai, M.D., Professor of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Laszlo Hospital in Budapest, Hungary.
   The drug will be available by prescription only.  Patients will be monitored in special clinical units where appropriate care may be given and data collected.
    AIDS symptoms range from persistent generalized lymphadenopathy and the occurrence of systemic symptoms, i.e., fever, night sweats, fatigue, dyspnea and diarrhea, persisting for more than three months, in the earlier course of the disease to the occurrence of opportunistic infections, such as pneumocystis carinii, Kaposi sarcoma and cytomegalo virus infections, in the later stages.
    Virazole is authorized in the United States only for the aerosolized treatment of infants and young children hospitalized with severe lower respiratory tract infection caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).  It is also authorized in 20 other countries, including eight European countries, for RSV and in 40 countries outside the United States for treatment of a number of other viral infections.
    ICN Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Costa Mesa and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is a worldwide health care company.  SPI Pharmaceuticals, listed on the American Stock Exchange, makes, markets and distributes some 600 prescription and nonprescription pharmaceuticals in over 60 countries.  Viratek, listed on NASDAQ, is a pharmaceutical research and development company.
    -0-                     11/19/91 /CONTACT:  Jack Sholl of ICN Pharmaceuticals, 714-545-0100, ext. 3013/
    (ICN SPI VIRA) CO:  ICN Pharmaceuticals ST:  California IN:  MTC SU: SE-EH -- LA014 -- 4799 11/19/91 09:07 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 19, 1991
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