New drug could mean breakthrough in coronavirus treatment

New drug could mean breakthrough in coronavirus treatment
Credit: Belga

Clinical testing of a protein-based drug could lead to a breakthrough in the treatment of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), the BBC reports on Monday.

Biotech company Synairgen tested the new drug, SNG001, on hospitalised coronavirus patients. The drug is based on interferon beta, a protein that the body produces when it gets infected by a virus. Patients breathe the drug directly into the lungs thanks to a vaporiser.

Synairgen tested the drug on 101 volunteers admitted to nine British hospitals for infection with the new coronavirus. Half of them received SNG001, the other half a placebo.

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The first results of the clinical trials show that the risk of a coronavirus patient becoming seriously ill in hospital is reduced by 79 percent, according to Synairgen. Patients were found to be two to three times more likely to recover to such an extent that the virus had no impact on their daily lives.

In addition, the tests indicated "very significant reductions" in breathlessness in patients receiving treatment with SNG001. The average time spent in hospital decreased by a third, to an average of six instead of nine days, for the patients who had received the drug.

“This assessment of SNG001 in Covid-19 patients could signal a major breakthrough in the treatment of hospitalised Covid-19 patients,” said Synairgen CEO Richard Marsden. “Our efforts are now focused on working with the regulators and other key groups to progress this potential COVID-19 treatment as rapidly as possible.”

The BBC does warn that these findings were not published in a peer-reviewed article in a trade journal and that the company did not release all the data.

However, if larger studies confirm the preliminary results, the new drug could be “a game changer,” according to Tom Wilkinson, the scientist in charge of the trial.

The Brussels Times

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