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If your wellness is affected by asthma, a new anti-viral drug could protect you from life-threatening symptoms. This is according to researchers from the University of Southampton and respiratory drug development company Synairgen, who say that their anti-viral drug – SNG001 – could lead to a cure for asthma.
SNG001 works to guard your wellbeing against respiratory virus infections (such as the common cold), as these can spread to your lungs and worsen your asthma symptoms. Viral infection is associated with an estimated 80% of asthma-related emergency department visits. Researchers recently tested the drug on 134 adult asthmatics with mild to severe symptoms, discovering that, compared to a placebo drug; SNG001 prevented two out of three asthma sufferers developing worse symptoms after catching a cold.
The scientists also found that, as a result of using the drug, the participants’ asthma symptoms were reduced by a whopping 65%, which allowed the sufferers to reduce the amount of times they inhaled a bronchodilator, which is an inhaler that increases airflow to your lungs. Now, the scientists hope that they will be able to create a commercial version of the drug, and change the lives of the 5.4m asthma sufferers in the UK.
In a statement, professor Stephen Holgate, founder of Synairgen, said, ‘This is a really promising breakthrough for the future treatment of asthma and one of the most exciting developments that I have seen in years. This is the first clinical study which appears to demonstrate that, by boosting the antiviral defences of the lungs of asthmatics rather than trying to inhibit rapidly evolving viruses, we can limit the adverse effects of viral infection significantly to prevent worsening of asthma symptoms in a high risk group of patients.’
Leanne Metcalf, assistant director of research at Asthma UK, commented, ‘This has the potential to be one of the biggest breakthroughs in asthma treatments in the past 20 years. We are incredibly excited by the possibilities this research could bring to reduce hospital admissions and deaths as a result of asthma attacks. Over 80% of asthma attacks are triggered by cold and flu viruses, and until now we haven’t had any effective treatments that can stop this from happening. This clinical trial demonstrates the potential of this anti-viral drug to prevent asthma attacks for thousands of people with severe asthma. We are incredibly proud to have played a part in the realisation of this research programme which should benefit people with asthma in a really significant way.’