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  • Glenn Hearson

Research trial into treatment for patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection

Updated: May 18, 2022

We will shortly be commencing research into a treatment for patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, with Professor Tim Harrison as site principal investigator and managed and delivered by Liz Dark and the asthma team from NRRU.

The research, sponsored by Synairgen Research Limited is a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial to determine the safety and efficacy of inhaled SNG001 (IFNβ-1a for nebulisation) for the treatment of patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The purpose of this research study is to test SNG001 (the study medication). SNG001 is an inhaled drug that contains interferon-β, an antiviral protein that occurs naturally in the body. Interferon-β has been given as an injection to thousands of patients for other diseases (such as multiple sclerosis), this trial is about giving SNG001 by inhalation.

By administering SNG001 as an aerosol through a nebuliser directly to the lungs it is hoped that the interferon-β can boost the lungs’ antiviral defences and reduce the severity of illness caused by viruses.

Recent research has suggested that Interferon-β, if given by inhalation might protects the cells in the lungs from cold and flu viruses in susceptible patients e.g. patient in hospital and those of advanced age and people with some chronic illnesses.

SARS-CoV-2 infection is a new type of coronavirus that appeared in China in 2019. There are currently no new drug treatments proven to help patients who have SARS-CoV-2. Due to the nature of the disease and how easily it is spread, it is a global threat and there is a need to assess new treatments which could prevent and effectively treat the lower respiratory tract (lung) illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2. It is possible that SNG001 could be given as a treatment to patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in order to prevent/limit the worsening of lower respiratory tract illness. We first need to test the study medication to see if it can ‘switch on’ the antiviral defences in the lungs in a way which would help them to fight viruses. The study medication will be given in addition to the normal medical care that patients should receive.

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