SNG001 Repurposing


Research Institution

Synairgen Research


Researchers have revealed they will be trialling an inhaled drug named SNG001 in 100 COVID-19 patients to see if the interferon beta 1a (IFN-β) formulation can prevent the coronavirus worsening in the most at-risk patients.

The trial will be led by Tom Wilkinson, Professor of Respiratory Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton and a consultant in respiratory medicine at University Hospital Southampton, both UK.

During the study, patients at the University Hospital Southampton and up to 10 other National Health Service (NHS) hospitals will receive the best current COVID-19 care while inhaling either SNG001 or a placebo over 14 days.

Research Team


Project Details

Funding Sources

Public funding through shares

Project Phases

Planned Time to Trials

Trials Active

Additional Resources

SNG001 is a formulation of naturally occurring IFN-β, originally designed to prevent severe lower respiratory tract infections in the lungs caused by cold and flu. Previous research at Southampton has shown IFN- β to be lacking in the immune response of high-risk groups for COVID-19, such as the old or those with chronic disease, leading the researchers to decide the SNG001 therapeutic may work in coronavirus patients.

According to the team, SNG001 delivers extra IFN-β directly to the lungs, correcting the deficiency and counteracting viral strategies to evade the host’s immune defences by inhibiting natural IFN-β production.

Professor Wilkinson said: “COVID-19 is presenting a major challenge to vulnerable patients, the health service and wider society. Whilst a vaccine will be key, that could be some time away. Right now we need effective frontline treatments to give doctors the tools to treat the most vulnerable and to help patients recover quickly as the pressure on health systems mounts.”

Professor Wilkinson has partnered with Synairgen, a drug company founded by University of Southampton professors, to run the trial.

The study will be measured against World Health Organization (WHO) recommended assessments of illness severity and treatment intensity measures alongside standard assessments of safety, according to the researchers.


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