18:54 GMT26 February 2021
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    British pharmaceutical company Synairgen revealed Monday that its new respiratory COVID-19 treatment reduced the number of hospitalized patients requiring intensive care in its recent clinical trial.

    The drug is called SNG001 and consists of a naturally occurring antiviral protein called interferon beta that is inhaled as a mist into the lungs. According to the company, COVID-19 patients who were given the treatment had a 79% lower risk of developing severe illness compared to those who were given a placebo instead. 

    In fact, patients who received the treatment “were more than twice as likely to recover (defined as ‘no limitation of activities’ or ‘no clinical or virological evidence of infection’) over the course of the treatment period compared to those receiving placebo,” the company said in a Monday news release.

    The findings also showed that patients who received the treatment “were more than twice as likely to recover over the course of the treatment period compared to those receiving placebo” and that the measure of breathlessness was “markedly reduced in patients” who received the treatment compared to those who just received the placebo.

    The study - which was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 101 patients in the UK between March 30 and May 27 - has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, although the results appear promising.

    “This assessment of SNG001 in COVID-19 patients could signal a major breakthrough in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” Synairgen CEO Richard Marsden said in the news release.

    “Our efforts are now focused on working with the regulators and other key groups to progress this potential COVID-19 treatment as rapidly as possible.”

    The trial’s chief investigator, Tom Wilkinson, also lauded the possible new treatment. 

    “We are delighted with the positive data produced from this trial,” Wilkinson said in the survey.

    “The results confirm our belief that interferon beta, a widely known drug that, by injection, has been approved for use in a number of other indications, has huge potential as an inhaled drug to be able to restore the lung’s immune response, enhancing protection, accelerating recovery and countering the impact of SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

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