Scottish firm hails breakthrough drug to halt Covid
A drug developed by a Scottish company has proved effective in preventing and treating Covid-19.
In a major breakthrough, ILC Therapeutics based near Glasgow, said tests on its Alfacyte drug had produced “highly statistically significant results”
Dr Alan Walker, CEO, said: “The dramatic success of these tests enables us to now move forward with our planning for safety trials.
“The global fight against Covid isn’t over – 55,000 deaths were recorded globally in January. Alfacyte could play a crucial role in maintaining immunity in global populations as new variants of the disease emerge and providing an effective treatment in regions where the vaccine isn’t available or where there is vaccine hesitancy.”
The firm has been increasing staff numbers and is now in the process of recruiting a head of pre-clinical development to manage the safety programme and further product development.
Alfacyte has the potential to prevent and treat other serious viral infections including HIV, hepatitis and RSV.
Earlier research carried out by ILC confirmed that Alfacyt is 15 to 20 times more potent at inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes Covid-19) in cell culture than other interferons which interfere with viral reproduction and are one of the body’s key defences against all viral pathogens.
In some cases (SARS, MERS, Covid-19), viruses can evade the interferon response by delaying the innate immune response.
Dr Alan Walker continued: “Chemical antiviral treatments currently available for a range of diseases are limited because of the likelihood of severe side effects.
“Using synthetic interferons could be a game changer in the prevention and treatment of devastating diseases such as HIV and respiratory infections.
“We are at the forefront of this pioneering technology which has global implications for disease prevention and treatment.”