The Open Orphan PLC (LON: ORPH) share price gapped higher after the contract research organisation (CRO) unveiled the first-ever COVID-19 challenge trial results.
The COVID-19 characterisation study was a collaboration between open Orphan’s subsidiary hVIVO, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Imperial College London, the Vaccine Taskforce, and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
One of the study’s main goals was to identify a suitable dosage of the SARS-CoV-2 virus for infection in young participants between 18 and 29 years who had no previous infection record.
The clinical highlights of the challenge trial included the fact that the viral load in the infected participants surged steeply in the first five days before peaking on the fifth day. However, there was no correlation between the viral load and the symptoms exhibited by participants.
None of the participants had any severe side effects, with many reporting mild to moderate symptoms similar to the common cold, including stuffy and running noses, sore throat and sneezing.
A significant portion of participants also reported changes in their sense of smell. Furthermore, the study showed that it took 42 hours from infection to detect the first symptoms of the disease.
The virus was first detected in the throat, but the nose had the highest virus concentration. The virus was first detected in the throat after 40 hours, with detection in the nose happening after 58 hours.
Investors cheered the news, which marks a significant milestone for Open Orphan given that it can now take on other contracts around the COVID-19 challenge studies after the success of the first study.
Cathal Friel, Open Orphan’s Executive Chairman, said: “I am delighted that the world’s first COVID-19 characterisation study has been completed with no serious adverse events or serious symptoms, demonstrating that a COVID-19 human challenge study is safe in healthy young adults. The results, which have been made public today, have provided invaluable insights into COVID-19 disease progression.”
“Crucially, we have now successfully established a COVID-19 Human Challenge Model, which could be instrumental in accelerating the development of future COVID-19 therapeutics. New variants, such as Omicron, often mean that vaccines and antivirals have to be quickly re-evaluated to ensure effectiveness. Human challenge studies could prove to be the fastest way to compare old and new vaccines and therapies.”
Open Orphan shares have fallen 20.32% in the past six months and are down 17.72% since the year started. Nevertheless, the shares look pretty attractive at current prices, given their long-term prospects.
*This is not investment advice. Always do your due diligence before making investment decisions.
Open Orphan share price.
Open Orphan share price gapped 4.27% higher to trade at 19.29p, rising from Tuesday’s closing price of 18.50p.
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