Published: 20 July 2020
Synairgen plc, a drug discovery and development company which originated from research at the University of Southampton, has announced positive results from its clinical trial of SNG001, an inhaled formulation of interferon beta, in hospitalised COVID-19 patients.
Key findings from the Phase II trial included that patients who received the interferon beta had a 79% lower risk of developing severe disease compared to placebo. Plus, patients who received the inhaled interferon beta were more than twice as likely to recover from COVID-19 as those on placebo.
These results have not yet been published in a peer reviewed journal and further analysis will be conducted over the coming weeks and reported in due course.
This COVID-19 trial, which was prioritised as Urgent Public Health Research, was delivered with support from NIHR. Initially, Synairgen spoke to the NIHR Respiratory Translational Research Collaboration (TRC), which evaluated the protocol and implementation of the trial. The Respiratory TRC also supported and coordinated involvement of NIHR Biomedical Research Centre sites across its network. This contributed to dosing occurring in patients within a few weeks of the Respiratory TRC being approached by Synairgen.
In parallel, the NIHR Clinical Research Network, which supports the planning, set-up and delivery of clinical research in England, expedited the process of adding the study to the NIHR Portfolio and validating the study costing template within 48 hours. Following that a strategy was devised to boost recruitment and all 100 participants were recruited in a matter of weeks.
Professor Tom Wilkinson, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Southampton and Trial Chief Investigator, commented:
"We are delighted with the positive data produced from this trial, which is the result of a momentous coordinated effort from Synairgen, the University of Southampton, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and the highly expert research teams across the NIHR network and regulatory bodies in the UK. The results confirm our belief that interferon beta, a widely known drug that, by injection, has been approved for use in a number of other indications, has huge potential as an inhaled drug to be able to restore the lung’s immune response, enhancing protection, accelerating recovery and countering the impact of SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
Read more about how the NIHR supported this trial in our case study.