Last night, BBCs Panorama programme, ‘When Will We Be Safe’, featured the new treatment for COVID-19, which is being developed by UK biotech company Synairgen and being trialled at University Hospital Southampton.
Synairgen’s drug, known as SNG001, uses a protein called interferon beta, which our bodies produce when we get a viral infection. The drug is already widely used in an injectable form for multiple sclerosis. In trials, the treatment has shown to stimulate the immune response in the lungs of patients with asthma and chronic lung disease.
CEO of Synairgen, Mr Marsden explained, "Our drug is a special formulation of interferon beta that we deliver directly to the airways when the virus is there. What we've shown in our research is that older people, and people with some chronic conditions, have a poor interferon beta response when there's a virus present. Coronavirus does the same thing."
Only after a rigorous clinical trial will we know whether the drug works for COVID-19 patients. Initial results from the trial are expected by the end of June.