A pill made from gut bacteria is being tested by British scientists as a treatment for coronavirus.
In a trial started today, patients are given either the drug, which contains a gut bacterial strain that has been found to reduce damage to the lung tissue caused by inflammation.
Patients often become seriously ill when their immune systems overreact to coronavirus and begin to cause additional damage to the body.
We hope the drug will stop this without dampening the immune response needed to clear the viral infection.
A pill made from gut bacteria will be given to patients in a trial started today as a potential treatment with Covid, to reduce damage to lung tissue caused by inflammation (file photo)
If the drug works, scientists plan to give it to patients before they experience breathing problems, reducing hospitalizations and the number of beds in the intensive care unit.
The pill, in a class of drugs known as biotherapeutics, contains billions of cells from the microbiome – the insect community in our guts.
Preclinical trials of the drug, made by Leeds-based 4D pharma, use gut bacterial strains that have been found to reduce damage to lung tissue from inflammation.
The pill, known as MRx-4DP0004, reduced a type of immune cell believed to be a major motor of inflammation and lung damage in coronavirus patients.
Now patients at Plymouth University Hospital are starting treatment today before being rolled out in locations across the UK.
Two-thirds of 90 patients receive the medication twice a day for two weeks, while the remaining third receive a placebo.
They are then monitored daily to see if their symptoms are improving or the virus is progressing for follow-up appointments after 14 and 28 days.
Early trials on asthmatics have passed safety checks, so we hope it can be approved soon if it works.
Duncan Peyton, CEO of 4D pharma, said being able to develop safe treatments is the “ holy grail ” for treatments.
He said, “Being able to safely treat lung hyperinflammation related to COVID-19 should be a priority in developing therapies for patients suffering from the more serious respiratory effects of the infection.
“Given the excellent safety profile of our drug, we ultimately want to treat patients with mild symptoms before they need to go to the hospital, which reduces the risk of respiratory complications and the need for intensive care.”
Dr. Alex Stevenson, Chief Scientific Officer, 4D pharma said, “Reducing hyperinflammation, especially in the lungs, is key to preventing worsening of symptoms associated with more severe COVID-19.
“4D pharma has shown that MRx-4DP0004 has the ability to address inflammation in the lungs, potentially reducing the respiratory problems central to COVID-19.”
Coronavirus vaccine WILL provide long-term protection, says Oxford study leader – as US experts discover that their own injection causes THREE times more antibodies than in recovered patients
By VICTORIA ALLEN SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
A shot against the coronavirus should last at least several years, said the British scientist whose own vaccine project is the global frontrunner.
Professor Sarah Gilbert told MPs she was optimistic that a vaccine would provide “a good duration of immunity.”
She’s the world-renowned expert who leads an Oxford University team devising a vaccine, so her claim could help allay fears about how long protection against Covid-19 could last.
Concerns had arisen after people with other types of coronavirus – which are less dangerous and cause colds – could be reinfected within tests within a year.
But Professor Gilbert told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that there may be a better outcome of a vaccine than the natural immunity obtained when individuals simply recover from a virus.
A shot against the coronavirus should last at least several years, said the British scientist whose own vaccine project is the global frontrunner (stock photo)
Professor Sarah Gilbert, an expert who leads an Oxford University team devising a vaccine, told MPs she was optimistic that a vaccine would provide ‘a good duration of immunity’
She said, “Vaccines have a different way of dealing with the immune system, and we follow people in our studies who use the same kind of technology to make the vaccines for years, and we still see strong immune responses.
“It’s something we need to test and track over time – we can’t know until we actually have the data – but we’re optimistic from previous studies that we’ll see a good duration of immunity, at least a few years, and probably better than naturally acquired immunity. ‘
When asked about a timeline about the vaccine, after the opportunity was raised to survive the winter without it, Professor Gilbert told the committee, “I hope we can improve those timelines and come to your aid.”
About 8,000 British are participating in a large trial of the Oxford vaccine, which is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. But as coronavirus numbers have fallen in this country, researchers are also aiming to vaccinate 4,000 individuals in Brazil and 2,000 in South Africa.
It comes as an experimental coronavirus vaccine being tested by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech produced neutralizing antibodies between 1.8 and 2.8 times larger than those in recovered patients.
The vaccine candidate uses part of the genetic code of the pathogen to help the body recognize and attack the coronavirus when a person becomes infected.
How the injectable vaccines from Imperial College London and Oxford University would work
The trial, using 45 people in three groups and a control group, showed encouraging early results.
“We still have a way to go and we are also testing other candidates,” said Philip Dormitzer, Chief Scientific Officer at Pfizer’s research labs. STAT News.
“What we can say at this point is that there is a viable candidate based on immunogenicity and safety data on early tolerance.”
The central question in these studies, however, is whether the vaccine will protect them from infection or simply make them less sick. It may also work less well in older people because their immune systems are weaker.
Kate Bingham, head of the Vaccine Taskforce in the UK, told MPs that she was less optimistic that the shot could protect against contracting the infection and is more likely to reduce the severity of the symptoms alone.
Kate Bingham told MPs today that she was sure the world would have some form of vaccine against Covid-19 in early 2021. But she said she was less optimistic that the shot might protect against contracting the infection and that the vaccine is more likely to reduce the severity of the symptoms
It comes as an experimental coronavirus vaccine being tested by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech produced neutralizing antibodies between 1.8 and 2.8 times larger than those in recovered patients
She said to the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons: “I am relatively optimistic that we will find a vaccine that can treat the population.
“The caveat is … is it a completely sterilizing vaccine, which means you can’t get infected, or is it a vaccine that basically just removes the symptoms so it reduces mortality?
‘It is clear that we would like to have a sterilizing vaccine so that people do not get infected.
Sir John Bell, regional professor of medicine at Oxford University, also provided evidence to the committee, warning that the UK should “prepare for the worst” this winter rather than relying on the development of a vaccine.
But he said he has now seen tests for a good standard coronavirus that can yield a result in minutes.
Sir John said, “That would be transformative because we could all test ourselves regularly and test our kids after doing a rave and all that stuff.”
He also urged the British to have the flu shot to “avoid pandemonium in emergency departments.”