Protein Treatment Found To Reduce CoVid-19 Death Rate By Almost 80% UK Trial Suggests
In extremely encouraging news from the UK, it appears a treatment for CoVid-19 using an already existing drug could severely cut the risk of death from the virus. The news has been somewhat overlooked given that the results of the study were released on the same day as the results of the Oxford University vaccine trial. Never-the-less the new treatment has the potential to save a huge number of lives before the end of the pandemic.
In a study carried out in hospitals across the UK, it was shown that use of Interferon-beta could cut the risk of developing severe disease by as much as 79%. In the study, 50 hospitalised patients were treated with a placebo and 50 were treated with the drug, which was administered in an inhaler. Not one of the 50 patients treated with the drug died.
Those who received the drug showed very significant reductions in breathlessness and were released much earlier from hospital. The drug will now go into a more advanced trial involving a much larger group of patients.
Professor Tom Wilkinson, who led the trial, told BBC:
“We couldn’t have expected much better results than these” and that the trial was “a major breakthrough in the treatment of hospitalised Covid-19 patients”.
Prof. Naveed Sattar, who is a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, and who did not work on the project, said of the results:
“The results seem very impressive, and although accepted that the trial is small with just over 100 participants, a 79% reduction in disease severity could be a game changer. It would be good to see the full results once presented and peer-reviewed to make sure they are robust and the trial conduct was rigorous. Also, with small numbers comes less certainty on the true level of benefit, or whether benefits vary between people with differing risk characteristics. Such work would require a larger trial but, even so, these results are very exciting.”
The stock price of the Southampton based drug company Synairgen skyrocketed on news of the find. The company was required due to the laws relating to drug companies that they make their findings public at this early stage. Interferon-beta is also being tested by other companies in several other countries.