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Inhaled drug can improve survival rates for COVID-19 patients

Inhaled drug can improve survival rates for COVID-19 patients

An inhaled drug can improve the chance of survival for hospitalised COVID-19 patients, an NIHR-backed study found.

The study, led by the University of Southampton with funding from Synairgen, found that interferon beta may prevent worsening of COVID-19 in those most at risk.

The risk of death or needing ventilation was reduced by 79% for patients receiving the drug, compared to patients given a placebo (dummy drug). 

On average, patients given interferon beta left hospital six days after starting treatment, compared to nine days for those given a placebo. 

After 28 days, patients given the drug were more than twice as likely to have fully recovered. 

The study involved 101 patients from nine UK hospitals, including eight from Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

Professor Tom Wilkinson, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Southampton and the trial’s chief investigator, said: “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.”

These results have not yet been published in a peer reviewed journal. Further analysis will be conducted and reported soon.