Experts say a new asthma drug could be ‘one of the biggest breakthroughs in the last 20 years’ after promising results from a clinical trial.
Asthma is a condition that affects the airways. It causes increased mucus production in the airways and makes it harder to draw air into your lungs. 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma.
Asthma is treated using inhalers
Over 80% of asthma attacks are triggered by cold and flu viruses, and severe symptoms due to cold infections are one of the chief reasons asthma patients end up in hospital.
These patients could now benefit from a ‘breakthrough’ drug that reduces complications from the common cold.
Researchers looked at the effects of a new drug called SNG001 in a population of 134 adult patients with ‘mild-moderate’ to ‘severe’ asthma who caught a cold.
They found that the drug significantly reduced asthma symptoms during the critical first week of infection, and the treatment led to a 65% reduction in the number of patients experiencing moderate worsening of symptoms.
SNG001 contains interferon beta that occurs naturally in the body, which is inhaled via a nebuliser to stop the virus taking hold in the lungs.
Experts said the drug could be ‘one of the biggest breakthroughs in the last 20 years’ and could be used more widely to protect other patients with chronic lung disease. The trial was co-funded by Asthma UK, whose assistant director of research, Leanne Metcalf, said:
"Over 80% of asthma attacks are triggered by cold and flu viruses, and until now we haven't had any effective treatments that can stop this from happening."
"This clinical trial demonstrates the potential of this anti-viral drug to prevent asthma attacks for thousands of people with severe asthma."
If you are already suffering from asthma, it is unlikely that it will be covered by private medical insurance because it is a pre-existing condition. However, if your asthma develops after taking out the policy, you may be covered for acute flare ups. Compare health insurance quotes online or speak to one of our advisors for more information about this and other chronic conditions.
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