By CONNOR BOYD HEALTH REPORTER FOR MAILONLINE
UNITED Kingdom — An inhaled drug that clears coronavirus in the lungs can prevent three in four patients from falling seriously ill with the disease, according to scientists trialing the experimental treatment.
Initial results from the trial of more than 100 hospitalized Covid-19 patients found it prevented 79 per cent of people from needing intensive care.
The treatment also slashed the average time patients spent in hospital by a third, down from an average of nine days to just six.
The drug — known as SNG001 — uses a protein called interferon beta which the body produces when it gets a viral infection.
It has been developed by Southampton-based pharmaceutical firm Synairgen and trialed by researchers from the city’s university.
The treatment sees patients inhale the drug directly into the lungs using a nebulizer, where it helps the immune system fight off viral infection.
The preliminary results from the trial haven’t yet been verified because the research hasn’t been published in a scientific journal or scrutinized by other scientists.
But independent experts say it would ‘represent by far the biggest breakthrough in Covid-19 treatment to date’ if the results are verified.
The only drug scientifically proven to treat the disease at present is a £5 steriod known as dexamethasone, which slashes death rates by up to a third.
Because Southampton-based Synairgen is a publicly traded company, it was obligated to release the preliminary results due to stock market rules.
The trial involved 101 Covid-19 patients who had been admitted at nine UK hospitals and required oxygen support. Half of the recruits were given the drug, while the rest took a placebo.
The trial was carried out on a double-blind basis, meaning neither the researchers nor the 101 patients knew who was receiving SNG001. (Source: MailOnlineUK)