A novel nasal treatment developed to boost the natural human immune system to fight common colds and flu, has proved remarkably successful in reducing COVID-19 viral replication test results reveal.
The novel product, INNA-051, being developed by Australian biotech company, Ena Respiratory, reduced viral replication by up to 96 percent in a gold-standard animal study led by Public Health England’s (PHE) Deputy Director, Professor Miles Carroll and published today on biomedical pre-publication research site, medRxiv.
The INNA-051 compound works by stimulating the innate immune system, the first line of defence against the invasion of pathogens into the body.
By boosting the immune response in this way with INNA-051 prior to infection, the ability of the COVID-19 virus to infect the animals and replicate was dramatically reduced the PHE study showed.
The study provides evidence that INNA-051 can be used as a stand-alone method of antiviral preventative therapy, complementary to vaccine programs.
“We’ve been amazed with just how effective our treatment has been,” says Ena Respiratory Managing Director, Dr Christophe Demaison. “By boosting the natural immune response of the ferrets with our treatment, we’ve seen a rapid eradication of the virus.”
“If humans respond in a similar way, the benefits of treatment are two-fold. Individuals exposed to the virus would most likely rapidly eliminate it, with the treatment ensuring that the disease does not progress beyond mild symptoms.
“This is particularly relevant to vulnerable members of the community. In addition, the rapidity of this response means that the infected individuals are unlikely to pass it on, meaning a swift halt to community transmission.”
Ena Respiratory has raised AU$11.7 million from Australian investors and, subject to successful toxicity studies and regulatory approval, the company could be ready to test INNA-051 in human trials in less than four months.
Investment and support in developing the novel therapy has been led from the Australian Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), Australia’s largest life science investment fund managed by Brandon Capital, with co-investment from university commercialisation fund Uniseed.
The company is urgently seeking additional funding to accelerate the nasal spray’s clinical development and global distribution.