Half a million asthma sufferers in the UK could benefit from a “breakthrough” drug that reduces complications caused by the common cold, it was claimed today.
Severe symptoms due to cold infections are one of the chief reasons why asthma patients end up in hospital.
A trial of the new drug, SNG001, found it significantly reduced asthma symptoms during the critical first week of infection. Treatment led to a 65% reduction in the number of patients experiencing moderate worsening of symptoms.
Researchers looked at the effect of SNG001 in a population of 134 adult patients with “mild-moderate” to “severe” asthma who caught a cold. Those with “difficult-to-treat” asthma, about half the total, benefited significantly from the treatment.
Chief investigator Professor Ratko Djukanovic, from the University of Southampton, said: “This trial, conducted by several UK academic respiratory experts, provides the first evidence of an effective anti-viral drug that can boost the asthmatic patient’s immune system to fight viruses and thus significantly reduce the impact of virus infections on asthma control.
“Southampton University scientists, who made the discovery of innate immune deficiency in asthma, have long suspected that the need to correct the deficiency is greatest in patients with severe asthma: we now have compelling evidence that this is the case.”