The preliminary results released by a British biotech firm have claimed that there can be a drastic reduction in the number of new coronavirus patients dying because of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, or requiring intensive care with the use of an aerosol-based drug treatment.
The firm has conducted a randomized test on a group of 100 patients who had been admitted to hospital with Covid-19. The study concluded that those patients who were administered an inhaled formula of the protein interferon beta exhibited a 79 per cent lower risk of development of the severe form of the disease in comparison to those patients who had received a placebo.
And compared to the control group, patients in the group that was given the treatment were two times more likely to make a full recovery from the disease.
The preliminary results suggested “a major breakthrough” in the pandemic, said the company that is behind the treatment, known as SNG001.
“We are all delighted with the trial results announced today, which showed that SNG001 greatly reduced the number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients who progressed from requiring oxygen to requiring ventilation,” said Richard Marsden, CEO of Synairgen.
However the results of the study that was published on Monday is yet to be peer reviewed while the sample size of the test was relatively small. However the results did confirm that the new treatment could be revolutionary in terms of the manner in which Covid-19 is treated in hospitals.
Interferon beta, commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis, is a naturally occurring protein. It is also a part of the natural fight against infection of the body and the novel coronavirus suppresses its production so that it is bale to evade an immune response.
It is possible to trigger a robust immune response to the virus by delivering the protein directly into the lungs of patients. It has been claimed that this treatment can be significantly useful for those patients whose immune system had been already weakened by the other infections.
“The results confirm our belief that interferon beta … has huge potential as an inhaled drug to be able to restore the lung’s immune response,” said Tom Wilkinson, professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Southampton.
The trial showed SNG001 was effective in “enhancing protection, accelerating recovery and countering the impact of SARS-CoV-2 virus”, he said.
For patients who are forced to get hospitalized with Covid-19 illness, a number of treatments a re available currently.
Administering the commonly available steroid dexamethasone has been found to be able to successfully reduced the risk of death among seriously ill patients, a UK-based team of researchers led by the University of Oxford announced last month.
Emergency authorisation for treatment with anti-viral remdesivir has also been issued by several countries.
(Adapted from AlJazeera.com)