Following Synairgen’s positive interim results from its inhaled interferon beta therapy, SNG001;
Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:
“Synairgen is now one of a select few drugs that have shown improvements in the progression of mechanical ventilation for COVID-19, reducing those having to receive this treatment by 79%. This is even more promising as these results were achieved in a placebo-controlled trial so it is unlikely affected by another factor. These patients have a much higher mortality rate and a higher cost of treatment, so any advancements for this type of patient will be a great achievement.
“However, the study had a small sample size, increasing the likelihood of a type II error skewing the results. These data need to be supported by larger studies with more detailed analysis to solidify this agent’s role in COVID-19 management. A Phase III clinical trial will primarily provide a bigger data set to confirm these results and allow for a comparison with remdesivir and dexamethasone.
“Additionally, there is an imbalance of high risk factors such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease across the two populations, although the analysis was reportedly adjusted for these factors.
“Furthermore, interferons should be tested to ensure that they do not promote bacterial superinfections in COVID-19 patients – one of the common side effects of this drug class. They must also be tested to establish the absence of pro-inflammatory effects in the lungs of COVID-19 patients, as the triggering of immune cells by interferon could worsen lung inflammation.”