University Of St Andrews Study Says ILC Therapeutics’ New Alfacyte Inhaled Interferon Might Be A “Significant" COVID-19 Drug Breakthrough
: According to new research carried out at the University of St Andrews-Scotland, a new inhalation treatment protocol and drug involving synthetic interferons to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is potentially far more effective than currently existing versions of interferons or inhalation protocols.
The Scottish biotech company, ILC Therapeutics based in Newhouse, North Lanarkshire-Scotland has announced that its unique synthetic Interferon called Alfacyte is more effective at preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture than other commercially-available Interferons such as Interferon Alpha 2 and Interferon Beta 1a.
The studies showed that Alfacyte was 15 to 20 times more effective at preventing the Covid-19 virus SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture than commercially available interferons.
It is known that COVID-19 tries to slow down the body's innate Interferon response to viral infection whereas Alfacyte is designed to help accelerate this response and prevent disease progression.
Detailed independent research at the University of St Andrews led by Dr Catherine Adamson, of the School of Biology, who is a specialist in viral diseases, demonstrated the superior effectiveness of Alfacyte in vitro against SARS-CoV-2.
"This is a hugely exciting development and it demonstrates that there is a significant difference in the bioactivity of Interferon sub types against coronaviruses. These differences may have important therapeutic implications for COVID-19,” said Dr Adamson, who oversaw the tests during a phone interview with Thailand Medical News.
The synthetic molecule Alfacyte, is a based on the human Alpha Interferons and was invented by Professor Dr William Stimson, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at ILC Therapeutics.
CEO of ILC Therapeutics, Dr Alan Walker, welcomed the results as a significant development in the fight against COVID-19. He told media,"This is a very positive development as the world prepares to face a second wave. Therapeutic interventions are crucial for us to tame COVID-19. The Innate Immune System represents an immunological 'wall' against viral infection. If we can hold the virus at this 'wall' long enough for the Adaptive Immune Response to get ready for battle, then COVID will not be able to progress into ARDS and cause systemic damage."
It should be noted that the Alpha Interferons are a family of 12 natural proteins which everyone produces. However so far only one subtype is used therapeutically, the Interferon Alpha 2.
Dr William H Stimson has spent two decades studying all the subtypes and their effectiveness as immunoregulators and antivirals, not just for COVID-19 but for other coronavirus-based illnesses such as SARS or MERS. His work has led him to construct a new patented synthetic Alpha Interferon, called Alfacyte, based on the most effective and powerful Alpha Interferon subtypes.
Dr Stimson told Thailand Medical News, "COVID-19 and other coronaviruses have spent a lot of evolutionary energy trying to protect themselves against the Interferon alpha because overcoming the Innate Immune System is their main concern. They attack by delaying the production of Interferon
alpha and so break through the Innate Immune defensive wall before the Adaptive Immune System is prepared to fight them.”
He further added, ”Timing is everything and by delivering a powerful Interferon like Alfacyte to the airways using a nebulizer we hope to accelerate and support the Innate Immune defenses and prevent viral infection spreading and worsening. As well as having direct anti-viral activity, Alfacyte is a powerful stimulator of Natural Killer (NK) cells that play a critical role if defending against the spread of COVID-19. These properties make Alfacyte an extremely promising drug candidate for COVID-19 therapy."
The biotech company is in the process of conducting further testing of Alfacyte and hopes to proceed to human clinical trials by next year.
In the following months, both University of St Andrews and ILC Therapeutics will first focus on vivo studies involving animal models of varying kinds. Both entities also hope that more organizations will come forth and help fund their research.
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