Synairgen PLC (LON:SNG) shares rallied strongly after recent hospital trials suggested its inhaled formulation of drugs to treat patients with coronavirus (COVID-19) could be an effective tool for patients who have a combination of respiratory viruses during winter months.
Further positive results of the SG016 trial, where 101 patients hospitalised with COVID-19 were given either the inhaled drug, known as SNG001, or a placebo, have been published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal.
Patients who were given the company's inhaled formulation of interferon beta-1a had greater odds of improvement and recovered more rapidly than placebo, and the drug was safely tolerated.
The double-blind, randomised trial assessed the efficacy and safety of inhaled SNG001 as a therapy for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, with patients given SNG001 or placebo by inhalation via a mouthpiece once daily for 14 days.
Patients who received SNG001 were shown to have greater odds of improvement across the WHO’s measure of clinical improvement and were more likely to recover to a stage of “no limitation of activity” during treatment.
There were no deaths in the group receiving Synairgen’s drug formulation but three deaths in the placebo group.
“The results confirm our belief that interferon beta, a widely known drug approved for use in its injectable form for other indications, may have the potential as an inhaled drug to restore the lung's immune response and accelerate recovery from COVID-19,” Professor Tom Wilkinson, professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Southampton and lead author of the Lancet report said in a statement.
“This pH neutral, inhaled interferon beta-1a formulation (SNG001) provides high, local concentrations of the immune protein which boosts lung defences rather than targeting specific viral mechanisms.
“This might carry additional advantages of treating COVID-19 when it occurs alongside infection by another respiratory virus such as influenza or Respiratory Syncytial Virus that may well be encountered in the winter months," he added.
The shares rallied 20% to 121.6p in early trading on Friday.
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