Coronavirus treatment hailed a ‘breakthrough’

An experimental coronavirus treatment has been hailed a “breakthrough” in the fight against the outbreak. Southampton-based biotech firm Synairgen tested the inhaled protein interferon beta on 101 patients across nine UK hospitals. Preliminary results reveal those given the treatment were 79% less likely to develop particularly severe disease, which could require ventilation, than the patients on placebo. The interferon beta group was also at least twice as likely to recover to the point where their everyday activities were unaffected by the illness, according to Synairgen. The firm also claimed interferon beta led to “significant” reductions in breathlessness – a key symptom of severe infection, and cut the time spent in hospital by a third – from an average of nine days to six.