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Drug discovery firm Synairgen's (LON: SNG) shares are soaring on Wednesday after the company announced the first patient has been dosed in the UK in its global SG018 trial evaluating it's inhaled formulation of interferon beta-1a (SNG001), for the treatment of hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

The first patient received the SNG001 treatment at a hospital in Hull on Tuesday.

The treatment involves patients inhaling the interferon-beta protein to stimulate the body to fight off the coronavirus infection.

Synairgen appointed Parexel Biotech, to help conduct the Phase 3 trial and several UK sites have now been initiated, with other locations in the US and the EU expected to follow.

The trial has been deemed an Urgent Public Health study by the National Institute for Health Research in the UK while in the US SNG001 has been granted Fast Track status from the FDA.

The study is being conducted in approximately 20 countries, enrolling up to 610 patients who require supplemental oxygen.

LON: SNG

“We need treatments as well as vaccines to fight highly pathogenic viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Development of treatments like ours will remain necessary in cases where vaccines are not effective, for those who do not get vaccinated, and in case the virus mutates to the point where vaccines become less effective,” commented Richard Marsden, Synairgen’s CEO.

“We believe this trial presents an opportunity for a significant UK scientific breakthrough and, if given the right support, our drug could rapidly assist with the global crisis,” added Marsden.

Synairgen shares rose to highs of 180p following the news. They are currently trading at 168p, up 9.35% on the day.

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