Study: Hepatitis drugs accelerate recovery in unhospitalized COVID-19 patients

February 5 – A single injection of experimental antivirals appears to accelerate recovery time in unhospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to a study published Friday. Lancet Respiratory Medicine..

In a phase II study testing whether the drug worked in patients with COVID-19, patients receiving peg interferon lambda were four times more likely to clear the coronavirus infection within 7 days. Data were shown compared to those who received placebo.

According to Eiger Biopharmaceuticals, a manufacturer in Palo Alto, California, the drug is being evaluated for the treatment of hepatitis D, a rare form of liver disease.

“This treatment has great potential for treatment,” research co-author Dr. Jordan Feld said in a statement.

“Especially at this time, we see aggressive variants of the virus that are less sensitive to both vaccine and antibody treatments, and COVID-19,” said Feld, a hepatologist at the Toronto Liver Center. New treatments are essential. ” Canadian illness.

Peg interferon lambda is a synthetic form of protein produced by the body in response to a viral infection and is capable of activating many cellular pathways to kill the invading virus.

COVID-19 prevents the body from producing interferon. This is one way the coronavirus evades control by the body’s immune system.

Treatment with interferon lambda activates many of the same virus-killing cell pathways as the naturally occurring form, so it should be possible to overcome drug resistance caused by new emerging strains of coronavirus, the researchers said.

Peg interferon lambda has fewer side effects than other forms of the drug because it is mainly active in the lungs, liver, and intestines, where the COVID-19 virus tends to replicate, but in other organs. There is no activity.

In this study, Feld and his colleagues treated 60 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 but not hospitalized. Thirty of them received a single dose of peg interferon lambda and 30 received a placebo.

According to the researchers, 79% of study participants with high blood virus levels had lower levels after treatment compared to 38% of participants who received placebo.

The apparent ability of peg interferon lambda to remove the virus within a few days is important because it can prevent people from developing a more serious illness and reduce the risk of spreading the illness to others.

This may reduce the time required for self-quarantine to prevent infection, the researchers said.

“There was also a tendency for respiratory symptoms to improve faster in the treatment group,” Feld said.

“If we can lower virus levels rapidly, people are less likely to spread the infection to others and may even reduce the time required for self-quarantine,” he said.

Based on these results, they said large-scale Phase 3 trials, the final stage of the drug approval process, are planned in the near future.

Study: Hepatitis drugs accelerate recovery in unhospitalized COVID-19 patients

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