The preliminary results of a clinical trial suggest a new treatment for Covid-19 dramatically reduces the number of patients needing intensive care, according to the UK company that developed it.

Source: BBC News

Reprinted for educational purposes and social benefit, not for profit.

The treatment from Southampton-based biotech Synairgen uses a protein called interferon beta which the body produces when it gets a viral infection. The protein is inhaled directly into the lungs of patients with coronavirus, using a nebuliser, in the hope that it will stimulate an immune response. The initial findings suggest the treatment cut the odds of a Covid-19 patient in hospital developing severe disease – such as requiring ventilation – by 79%.

Source: Synairgen

IFN-β for the treatment of COVID-19

Source: Synairgen

Interferon beta (IFN-beta) is a naturally occurring protein, which orchestrates the body’s antiviral responses. There is evidence that deficiency in IFN-beta production by the lung could explain the enhanced susceptibility of these at-risk patient groups to developing severe lung disease during respiratory viral infections. Furthermore, viruses, including coronaviruses, have evolved mechanisms which suppress endogenous IFN-beta production, thereby helping the virus evade the innate immune system.

In the lab IFN-beta has been shown to protect cells from infection with a broad range of respiratory viruses that cause LRT illness including highly pathogenic coronavirus strains, including MERS-CoV (Figure 1 below), SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2**, the virus which causes COVID-19.

Synairgen is developing a formulation of IFN-beta, called SNG001, for direct delivery to the lungs via nebulisation, to treat and/or prevent LRT illness caused by respiratory viruses.

In clinical trials in asthma and COPD, inhaled SNG001 has been well tolerated and shown to upregulate lung antiviral defences. In two Phase II trials in asthma, inhaled SNG001 improved lung function in patients with a cold or flu infection. A trial in COPD is ongoing. Early data has shown that the drug is well tolerated and upregulates lung antiviral defences in COPD. – Download Webinar Deck