NEW YORK CITY, July 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — BetterLife Pharma Inc. (“BetterLife” or the “Company”) (OTCQB:BETRD) (CSE:BETR) has been a strong advocate and defender of using interferons as treatment for COVID-19, in particular as delivered through an inhalation device.
Now, the preliminary results of a clinical trial by a UK biotech have confirmed the premise advocated by the Company, suggesting that an interferon inhalation treatment for COVID-19 reduces the number of patients needing intensive care.
In the UK study, the treatment was delivered through a nebulizer and inhaled directly into the lungs of patients with coronavirus. The initial findings suggest the treatment cut the odds of a COVID-19 patient in hospital developing severe disease – such as requiring ventilation – by 79%.
The study reported “very significant” reductions in breathlessness among patients who received the treatment and highlighted how patients were two to three times more likely to recover to the point where everyday activities were not compromised by their illness, according to the study claims.
In addition, the average time patients spent in hospital is said to have been reduced by a third, for those receiving the new drug – down from an average of nine days to six days.
The treatment in the study used interferon beta, as opposed to the patent-pending interferon alpha 2b (IFN-a2b) treatment developed by BetterLife called AP-003.
Whether alpha or beta, both interferon proteins are produced when the body encounters a viral infection and act as antiviral agents, modulating functions of the immune system. Interferons were so named for their ability to “interfere” with viral replication by protecting cells from virus infections.
IFN-a2b has been used with great success with other respiratory illnesses. Interferon treatments have been studied against coronaviruses including MERS-CoV, SARS-Cov-1 and now SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19).
Of the three coronaviruses which cause severe human disease, SARS-CoV-2 displays substantial sensitivity to interferon alpha. Studies in COVID-19 patients show that IFN-a2b inhalation reduces the infection rate of SARS-CoV-2.
BetterLife is planning to initiate its Phase II study later this summer with its proprietary IFN-a2b formula called AP-003. AP-003 is a patent pending isoform-free form of interferon alpha 2b. This means that as a purer form of interferon it is potentially less toxic, clearing the way for higher doses to be administered.
BetterLife hope that an inhaler, similar to one used in the UK study, will deliver AP-003 directly to a patient’s lungs in the hope of stimulating immune response. The treatment is aimed at preventing infected patients deteriorating from requiring oxygen to being placed on a ventilator, as suggested by the findings of the UK study.
The company is also aiming to develop a low dose version of AP-003 that may serve as a prophylaxis or prevention treatment for front-line workers and those at high risk for COVID-19 infections.
In discussing the news with BDA, Ahmad Doroudian, Chief Executive Officer of BetterLife commented “We are encouraged by the positive results from this trial as it further confirms the proof of concept of anti-COVID treatment via IFN inhalation. We look forward to our proposed 150 patient clinical trials using AP-003 (inhaled IFN alpha 2b) in COVID-19 patients.
BetterLife’s team believes that the isoform-free IFN alpha2b will provide a potentially superior treatment regimen for Covid-19 patients, as IFN-a2b has already been used to successfully treat other viral infections such as HCV and HBV.
To learn more about AP-003 please visit www.BlifeTherapeutics.com
BetterLife Pharma has not made any express or implied claims that AP-003 or any other product has the ability to eliminate, cure or contain the COVID-19 (or SARS-2 Coronavirus) at this time. Further, the safety and efficacy of AP-003 are under investigation and market authorization has not yet been obtained.
Disclosure: BetterLife Pharma is a client of BDA International.
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