As this is likely to be behind a firewall I have copied it with apologies for the length.
A “GAME-CHANGING” treatment for Covid-19 could reduce the chance of serious illness by 80 per cent, research suggests.
Trials using an inhaled protein, which is commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis, found that patients given it were more than twice as likely to recover during the treatment period, compared with those given a placebo
Stays in hospital were cut by a third, according to the study of Southampton hospital patients
The treatment from biotech firm Synairgen used a protein called interferon beta, which the body produces when it gets a viral infection
Synairgen was started by three professors, Stephen Holgate, Donna Davies and Ratko Djukanovic, who worked together at Southampton University’s School of Medicine.
The firm, which will present its findings to medical regulators within days, expects to be able to deliver “a few 100,000” doses a month by the winter, if the treatment is approved.
Getting approval may take months, but it is possible the drug could get emergency approval, as happened with the drug Remdesivir. Alternatively larger trials may be ordered
The drug, known as SNG001, is inhaled using a nebuliser in order to stimulate an immune response. Richard Marsden, chief executive of the company, said: “We couldn’t have expected much better results than these
The trial found that hospital patients who ended up developing the most severe form of the disease – to the point where they required ventilation or they died – was reduced by 79 per cent during the treatment period of up to 16 days, compared with patients who received the placebo. The average time spent in hospital was cut from nine days to six
Overall, those on the drug were two to three times more likely to recover to the point where they could continue daily activities during the trial.
Three people (six per cent) died after being assigned the placebo, while there were no deaths among those who received the drug, Synairgen said
Tom Wilkinson, a professor of respiratory medicine at Southampton University and trial chief investigator, said the findings showed the drug had huge potential in restoring the lung’s immune response, and speeding recovery from Covid-19
Researchers said the treatment could not only help the lungs’ ability to neutralise the virus, but could also tackle a mutated version, or co-infection with other viruses, such as flu, which may emerge this winter .
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