An expansion of the original hospital-based SG016 study, an extra 120 people will receive Synairgen’s SNG001 medication at their homes.
The idea is to treat sufferers earlier in the illness – within three days of developing symptoms.
The launch of the expansion phase follows the receipt of the “necessary approvals”.
A total of 98 of the original 100 hospital cohort has now been dosed, according to Synairgen chief executive Richard Marsden, who expects to announce top-line data from the trial in July.
“If successful, we would hope to protect the lungs and prevent the development of the severe lower respiratory tract illness which puts the healthcare system under such strain,” he added in a statement.
Nick Francis, professor of general practice at the University of Southampton, said there was a “desperate need” for a coronavirus treatment that can be administered during the early phase of the illness to prevent the progression of severe symptoms.
"This novel trial approach is essential for the ongoing health of those at higher risk because of increasing age or other risk factors,” he added.
“The approach could be rolled out across many areas of primary care involving the interaction with vulnerable patients, including the elderly if it is successful.”
- In a separate announcement, Synairgen released its results for the year to December 31. As is standard with a firm involved in research and development, it was lossmaking – to the tune of £4.82mln. R&D expenditure was £3.46mln. While cash at the year-end was £2.45mln, the company raised £14mln in March in an oversubscribed share issue.