Scientists make significant COVID-19 drug breakthrough

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In a new study, researchers have found a new inhalation treatment for preventing the spread of COVID-19 is potentially far more effective than currently existing versions.

They found a unique synthetic Interferon called Alfacyte is more effective at preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture than other commercially-available Interferons such as Interferon Alpha 2 and Interferon Beta 1a.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of St Andrews and elsewhere.

COVID-19 tries to slow down the body’s innate Interferon response to viral infection and Alfacyte is designed to help accelerate this response and prevent disease progression.

In the study, the team demonstrated the superior effectiveness of Alfacyte in vitro against SARS-CoV-2.

Alfacyte is a synthetic molecule based on the human Alpha Interferons.

Therapeutic interventions are crucial for us to tame COVID-19. The Innate Immune System represents an immunological ‘wall’ against viral infection.

If researchers can hold the virus at this ‘wall’ long enough for the Adaptive Immune Response to get ready for battle, then COVID will not be able to progress into ARDS and cause systemic damage.

The Alpha Interferons are a family of 12 natural proteins that everyone produces. Thus far only one subtype is used therapeutically, the Interferon Alpha 2.

The team has spent two decades studying all the subtypes and their effectiveness as immunoregulators and antivirals, not just for COVID-19 but for other coronavirus-based illnesses such as SARS or MERS.

The work has led them to construct a new patented synthetic Alpha Interferon, called Alfacyte, based on the most effective and powerful Alpha Interferon subtypes.

The team says by delivering a powerful Interferon like Alfacyte to the airways they hope to accelerate and support the Innate Immune defenses and prevent viral infection from spreading and worsening.

As well as having direct anti-viral activity, Alfacyte is a powerful stimulator of Natural Killer (NK) cells that play a critical role if defending against the spread of COVID-19. These properties make Alfacyte an extremely promising drug candidate for COVID-19 therapy.

One leader of the study is Dr. Catherine Adamson.

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