Interviewer: Professor Holgate, thank
you for taking the time today to discuss
the research going into the SNG001
drug as a therapy for COVID-19.
Unless I am mistaken, this is an inhaled
formulation of interferon beta-1.
What are some of the biological
mechanisms for how this drug works?
Prof. Holgate: Interferon beta is
part of the first immune response to any
infectious agent that
penetrates the human body.
In the lung in the case of coronavirus or
any other respiratory virus,
as the virus gains entry into
the lining cells of the lung,
the gene that promotes the formation
of interferon beta is switched on.
This is then released as a chemical that
interacts with a common receptor which is
spread throughout the lung to bring on
a massive anti-viral protection effect, so
it's the first step in the immune
elimination of virus infections.
Interviewer: Why was this
formulation chosen in particular?
Prof. Holgate: Interferon beta-1
has been used for a number of years to
treat multiple sclerosis by injection,
achieving a systemic level which
brings with it appreciable side-effects,
but nevertheless does work.
We wanted to get high levels in the lung
and of course with no side-effects, and
the best way of achieving that
is to give it by inhalation,
because any of the drug that gets into the
circulation then would be extremely small,
side-effects would be low, and yet
the site where the virus is gaining entry