This drug has already been proven to help asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients with other lung infections. It has been said to prevent 79% of Cornavirus cases progressing in trial with critically ill COVID-19 patients.
The experimental drug, known as SNG001, is an inhaled formulation of beta-interferon developed by the pharmaceutical company Synairgen. It was given to patients in hospital with Coronavirus who needed oxygen assistance.
Although the treatment had already been shown to improve the recovery of asthma and COPD patients who had other lung infections, such as flu, it was not known if it would help COVID-19 patients.
The trial was conducted on a double-blind and placebo-controlled basis, meaning neither the researchers nor the patients knew whether they were receiving SNG001 or a placebo.
It found the number of patients who ended up developing the most severe form of the disease – to the point where they required ventilation or they died – was reduced by 79% for those taking SNG001, compared with those on the placebo.
Three people who took part in the trial died after being randomly assigned to the placebo, Synairgen confirmed. There were no deaths among those patients treated with SNG001.