Aerosol-based protein inhalant has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of death and the chance of developing serious symptoms by 79% compared to patients given a placebo.
And, in further good news, results also showed that patients were twice as likely to make a full recovery from Covid-19, meaning that they had no lasting respiratory weakness or other lung damage.
The new drug arose out of research conducted at the University of Southampton on England's south coast using a naturally-occurring protein called interferon beta. They have given it the snappy title of SNG001. A company called Synairgen, co-founded by three of the university’s professors, tested the inhalant on 240 COVID-19 patients in a controlled trial from March to May.
When inhaled directly into the lungs, interferon beta activates a powerful immune response. Interferon beta was a prime protein candidate for treatment testing because Covid-19 suppresses the body’s natural production of interferon beta which helps form the inherent protection against the spreading virus in the body.
“We are all delighted with the trial results announced today, which showed that SNG001 greatly reduced the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients who progressed from ‘requiring oxygen’ to ‘requiring ventilation’,” said Richard Marsden, CEO of Synairgen.
“It also showed that patients who received SNG001 were at least twice as likely to recover to the point where their everyday activities were not compromised through having been infected by SARS-CoV-2. This assessment of SNG001 in COVID-19 patients could signal a major breakthrough in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.”
Professor Stephen Holgate, one of Synairgen’s co-founders, described it as having “huge potential” for restoring the natural immune system response in a patient’s lungs.
He added that not only does SNG001 help the lungs combat Covid-19, but it could become a more important treatment than any future vaccines which may have to be re-engineered as the virus mutates in the future.
More recent breakthroughs:
Llama Antibodies: Potential drug candidate emerges as llama antibodies found to neutralize COVID-19’s spike protein.
Oxford Vaccine: Over the past couple of months, Oxford University has been hailed as leading the coronavirus vaccine race and now, in further good news, trials show that their vaccine triggers immune response, and early results also indicate the vaccine is safe, raising hopes it could help end pandemic.