BetterLife Pharma Inc (OTCQB:BETRF) (CSE:BETR) told shareholders Friday that recent findings support the use of a new proprietary inhalation treatment called interferon alpha-2b (a2b) for coronavirus.
The pharmaceutical development company is exploring the potential of using interferon as a treatment for coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Findings published in the May 15 issue of 'Frontiers of Immunology' indicated that interferon a2b significantly accelerated clearance of the virus from patient airways and reduced inflammatory proteins thought to cause severe COVID-19 complications. The study looked at the use of interferon alpha-2b on 77 patients with moderate cases of COVID-19.
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Dr Eleanor Fish, one of the paper’s authors and a scientific advisor to BetterLife, told Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail that awareness of interferon as a potential COVID-19 treatment has “been slow to build” and should be prioritized for larger-scale clinical trials.
Interferon describes a family of proteins produced by the body's immune system in response to an invading viral infection, “interfering” with the virus's ability to copy itself.
Cells infected with a typical coronavirus usually fortify its defences and release proteins called chemokines that activate a longer-term response to fighting the virus. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, the specific virus strain that causes COVID-19, the virus blocks the “call to arms” function mediated by interferon.
Research suggests that treatment with interferon is best done early when mild symptoms start to appear.
“The findings lend support to the idea of continuing research efforts, to investigate interferon in larger, blinded trials designed to find more definitive answers,” BetterLife told investors in a statement.
The New York-based company plans to validate the research finding by advancing its intended clinical trials.
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