New Covid-19 treatment is "the most powerful we currently have," says scientist

20 July 2020, 18:27 | Updated: 20 July 2020, 18:34

By Seán Hickey

On the day of positive results from Oxford coronavirus vaccine trials, another trial has found "the most powerful treatment we currently have" for Covid-19.

Trials from SynAirGen showed promising results of inhaling the protein Interferon Beta when a person is afflicted with coronavirus. Professor Stephen Holgate is a Lung Research specialist from Southampton University, where the trials were undertaken with SynAirGen and he shared the results of the trial with Eddie Mair.

He began by stating that in 2003 the company "developed a new treatment for asthma" and other respiratory illnesses and so SynAirGen conducted a "clinical trial on 100 patients" 50 control and 50 experiment patients "taking inhaled Interferon Beta" to try reduce the impact of coronavirus on the patient.

"We were quite surprised at how effective this is." Professor Holgate told Eddie.

"Over a period of 14 days they took this inhaled drug once daily, these were patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19, and at all levels of disease severity these patients improved far more quickly than the ones that received the dummy.

"They also lost their breathlessness more rapidly and decreased their chance of developing a severe disease - that is, going onto a ventilator or dying in fact."

"This was an extraordinary finding and I think it makes it one of the most powerful treatments we currently have." The Professor said.

Trials showed people that were treated with Interferon Beta recovered from Covid-19
Trials showed people that were treated with Interferon Beta recovered from Covid-19. Picture: PA

Eddie wondered if the inhalation of Interferon Beta will work on everyone. Professor Holgate told him that his team "have further analysis to do on this but it does seem it works by recruiting the body's own immune response." Which indicates that the treatment works on everyone.

"One of the effects would be to free up ventilators" Eddie imagined, but Professor Holgate was far more optimistic with the results.

He stated that not only would the use of Interferon Beta free up ventilators, but it will work "to get patients out of hospital earlier, and even prevent them going in in the first place."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify