A new treatment, a protein called interferon beta or SNG001, has been developed with results from the phase 2 trial published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal. The study showed that hospitalised COVID-19 patients on nebulised interferon bets recovered quicker and that the drug was safe.
Interferon beta, produced naturally by the body when it gets a viral infection, is inhaled directly into the lungs of patients with coronavirus using a nebuliser, with the aim of reducing viral load and stimulating an immune response. Oxford University Hospitals contributed 10% of the patients in the phase 2 trial.
The large phase 3 trial, which is expected to involve 900 participants and take place in up to 20 NHS sites, has been deemed an urgent public health research study by the Department of Health and Social Care, and will be prioritised for set-up and delivery across the NHS by the NIHR Clinical Research Network over the coming months.