Audio Interview

INFβ therapy for COVID-19: the new SNG001 drug

Published on May 27, 2020   10 min

Other Talks in the Series: Research and Clinical Interviews

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

INFβ therapy for COVID-19: the new SNG001 drug

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