UK hospital trials another new drug for coronavirus treatment
London, May 4, 2020 (AltAfrica)-A new drug developed by UK scientists to treat Covid-19 patients is being trialled at University Hospital Southampton.
Developed by UK bio-tech company Synairgen, BBC reports that the drug uses a protein called interferon beta, which human bodies produce when infected with a viral infection.
Initial results from the trial are expected by the end of June.
There are currently few effective treatments for coronavirus with doctors relying on patients’ immune systems.
Interferon beta is part of the body’s first line of defence against viruses, warning it to expect a viral attack, explains Richard Marsden, chief executive of Southampton-based Synairgen.
He says the coronavirus seems to suppress its production as part of its strategy to evade our immune systems.
The drug is a special formulation of interferon beta delivered directly to the airways when the virus is there, with the hope that a direct dose of the protein will trigger a stronger anti-viral response even in patients whose immune systems are already weak.
Interferon beta is commonly used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Synairgen has already shown its preparation can stimulate the immune response in the lungs of patients with asthma and other chronic lung conditions.
But we can only know whether it works for Covid-19 patients after it has been through a rigorous clinical trial.
More than 90 vaccines are being developed for the treatment of covid-19 by research teams in companies and universities across the world.
Researchers are trialling different technologies, some of which haven’t been used in a licensed vaccine before.
At least six groups have already begun injecting formulations into volunteers in safety trials; others have started testing in animals.
Last Friday, Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir was authorised by US regulators for emergency use on coronavirus patients
US medical officials said evidence confirmed that a recent trial proved that remdesivir helped patients with serious cases of Covid-19 recover faster.