Perhaps there is a promising new drug against coronavirus

Perhaps there is a promising new drug against coronavirus

The drug Sng001 has shown promise in reducing the severity of Covid-19. According to preliminary results, in fact, it may decrease the need to use the inhaler and improve the chances of recovery and survival

(photo: Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images) It is called Sng001 and is a drug that it could prove to be a promising weapon in the fight against the new coronavirus. In fact, according to the preliminary (and not yet reviewed) results of a study coordinated by researchers from the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), the experimental drug has been shown to decrease the risk of developing a severe form of Covid-19 . In particular, Sng 001, the researchers explain, significantly reduces the need for mechanical ventilation, consequently increasing the probability of survival.

Administered by inhalation, the drug Sng001, produced by Synairgen, a biotechnology company founded by researchers from the University of Southampton, is based on interferon beta, a protein naturally produced in the body that plays an important role in coordinating the body's antiviral response. To test the drug, the researchers involved around 100 patients hospitalized from March 30 to May 27: half of the participants were given Sng001 for 14 days, while the other half received a placebo. From the results, the researchers found that by administering Sng001, patients' chances of developing a severe form of the disease were reduced by 79%, compared to patients who received a placebo instead.

But not only that: according to the researchers, the drug significantly reduced the risk of wheezing and developing other complications associated with the new coronavirus , while it has increased by about twice the chance of a cure . In the course of the study, three patients in the placebo group died, while there were no deaths among those who received Sng001. “The initial results are very promising and provide a solid base for continuing this drug in the clinical development and try to insert it as a treatment as soon as possible,” explained Tom Wilkinson, author of the study. “The results confirm our belief that interferon beta has a huge potential as a medication by inhalation, to restore the immune response in the lungs, speed up healing and to counteract the impact of the new coronavirus”.

Although the results are preliminary, and therefore need to be confirmed in more extensive studies, there are those who between the scientific community has proven already skeptical and calls for caution . “This study is too small to draw final conclusions,” said Martin Landray, University of Oxford. “It's exciting to see the development and evaluation of new treatments, but there is a big difference between encouragement offered by the early results and the evidence applied in clinical practice,” says the expert, stressing that will serve randomized studies is much more extensive in order to evaluate if this treatment really has an impact, especially on survival.

And again: “there are a lot of evidence that the interferon-beta is a key component of the human immune response against a viral infection. As a scientific concept, use Sgn001 to increase the levels of interferon beta as a treatment for the Covid-19 has a lot of sense,” said Dave Singh, an expert at the University of Manchester. “But this is a phase 2 study in which they were enrolled a limited number of patients in order to quickly capture sufficient data to analyze whether the drug has beneficial effects” . It serves, therefore, extreme caution in interpreting these data. But there is no doubt that “the results suggest that interferon beta deserves urgent further evaluation as a treatment for the Covid-19”.

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