British pharmaceutical company Synairgen said it has found a new coronavirus treatment that might be a “major breakthrough” in stopping people from developing severe disease from COVID-19.

What’s happening:

  • Synairgen said a drug — SNG001 — was used as a treatment in a new trial.
  • The drug showed a 79% lower risk of patients developing severe disease compared to a placebo used in the trial.
  • The drug “is a formulation of a naturally occurring antiviral protein called interferon beta and is inhaled directly into the lungs in the hope of stimulating an immune response,” according to CNBC.
  • Patients who received the treatment “were more than twice as likely to recover (defined as ‘no limitation of activities’ or ‘no clinical or virological evidence of infection’) over the course of the treatment period compared to those receiving placebo,” the company said in a statement.
  • “Over the treatment period, the measure of breathlessness was markedly reduced in patients who received SNG001 compared to those receiving placebo,” the company said.


  • Three patients who took the placebo died. No one who took SNG001 died.
  • The study used 101 patients from nine different hospital sites in the UK from March 30 to May 27. Patients groups were matched by age and average duration of COVID-19 symptoms, according to Technology Networks

So what’s next?

  • Synairgen will now present the findings to regulators. The company hopes it will receive emergency approval, much like the drug remdesivir, per CNBC.