UK begins clinical trial of new drug to treat COVID-19

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Scientists in the UK are trying a new drug, interferon beta, to treat patients admitted to hospitals with COVID-19.

The drug was developed by the biotechnology company Synairgen and is known as SNG-001.

Interferon
beta is an interferon or a synthetic protein that is used to manage multiple
sclerosis. It works by alerting the immune system to the invasion of pathogens, but
don’t kill them directly.

“Interferon beta is part of the body’s first line of defense against viruses, warning it to expect a viral attack”, BBC quoted Richard Marsden, managing director of Synairgen, based in Southampton, said.

As it stimulates the immune response, it may prove useful for immunocompromised patients who are unable to fight the new coronavirus.

The drug will be administered as an aerosol directly into the respiratory tract. The results of this clinical trial would most likely be available by July.

Last month, the drug interferon alfa-2b had shown success in treating COVID-19 patients in China. It was produced in Cuba as part of a partnership with China.

Interferon alfa is used to treat diseases like hepatitis B and C and various cancers, including AIDS-related leukemia, melanoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma.

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