A new inhaled protein treatment has been found to accelerate recovery and lower the odds of developing severe COVID-19 in patients, researchers have said.
Small-scale trial results for the drug, known as SNG001, suggest that users were more than twice as likely to recover from COVID-19, compared to those who had the placebo drug.
The drug, which was developed by Southampton-based biotech Synairgen, contains interferon beta-1a – a protein naturally produced by the body to fight viral infections.
SNG001 is inhaled using a nebuliser, in an attempt to trigger an immune response.
Scientists say their findings, which have been published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, are proof-of-concept that the drug could help coronavirus patients in hospital recover.
However, the group note that more research is required with a larger, randomised clinical trial, as their study only involved 98 volunteers.
Professor Tom Wilkinson, from the University of Southampton, who led the study said: “The results confirm our belief that interferon beta, a widely known drug approved for use in its injectable form for other indications, may have the potential as an inhaled drug to restore the lung’s immune response and accelerate recovery from COVID-19.