First MFT patient recruited to Synairgen COVID-19 research trial

Our first patient has taken part in a research trial testing whether SNG001 – a drug treatment administered via a nebuliser – could be a potential treatment for COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The first Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) patient was recruited at Wythenshawe Hospital this week, as part of a multidisciplinary team effort to tackle the virus.

The trial is taking place at hospitals across the UK, with our Trust a participating site. The research is sponsored by Synairgen Research Limited, a respiratory drug discovery and development company founded by the University of Southampton, which focusses primarily on lung viral defence in asthma and COPD.

SNG001 is an inhaled formulation of interferon-beta-1a (IFN-β1a), a respiratory drug which has been found to inhibit viruses and boost antiviral responses in the lungs. It has already been used in clinical trials of patients with asthma and COPD. These earlier trials indicated that SNG001 was well tolerated during virus infections and provided significant lung function benefit for asthma patients, compared to a placebo.

There are currently no approved treatments for COVID-19, but researchers believe SNG001 could help prevent the worsening, or accelerate the recovery of patients with severe lower respiratory tract illness, brought on by COVID-19.

There are currently five other COVID-19 research trials open at MFT, with more in set-up, due to open imminently.

Dr Tim Felton, Honorary Consultant in Intensive Care and Respiratory Medicine at Wythenshawe Hospital and our Clinical Lead for MFT COIVID-19-related studies, said: “As of 16 April, more than 1,000 patients have been recruited to COVID-19 trials at MFT and that number is growing every day.

“Our research spans four workstreams – data, diagnostics, observational and treatments – with this SNG001 study being one of our ‘treatments’ trials, which are looking at different medications we can use to treat patients with COVID-19.

While there is still much we don’t know about COVID-19, every time someone takes part in research they help us enhance our understanding a little bit more, so I’d like to say thank you to all the patients taking part in COVID-19 studies at our Trust and across the world.

At MFT, patients with a confirmed COVID-19 infection being cared for in our hospitals are invited to take part in the Synairgen trial. As part of this, the severity of patients’ condition is recorded on a scale developed by the World Health Organisation and participants are asked questions about their breathlessness, cough and sputum every day, in addition to assessments of their general medical condition and safety.

We carry out research when we don’t know the answers, but if SNG001 proves to be beneficial it would be a major breakthrough for the treatment of COVID-19.

Dr Felton explains more about the COVID-19 research taking place at MFT in this short video.

Read more about Synairgen SNG001 study on the NIHR website.