The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton are currently undertaking a drug trial that aims to stop the worsening of COVID-19 symptoms in those most at risk.
The trial involves 100 people from Southampton, with the potential of other NHS hospitals also taking part. The participants will be receiving top COVID-19 care, while either taking the new drug or a placebo.
The drug, named SNG001, contains ‘a special formulation of the naturally occurring antiviral protein interferon beta 1a‘, a substance which is usually created in the lungs during viral infections. However, those most at risk of contracting COVID-19 have found to have low levels of interferon beta 1a, which the drug is hoping to combat.
The Phase II clinical trial which involved asthmatic patients found the drug to be effective.
Professor Tom Wilkinson, key staff from the university’s Respiratory Medicine faculty, has said:
COVID19 is presenting a major challenge to vulnerable patients, the health service and wider society whilst a vaccine will be key, that could some time away. Right now we need effective frontline treatments to give doctors the tools to treat the most vulnerable and to help patients recover quickly as the pressure on health systems mounts.
The trial is also being led by Professor Wilkinson, as well as drug development company Synairgen, which was founded by a number of other professors from the university.
More information about the trial can be found on its dedicated page.