Health

Experimental Covid drug may alleviate symptoms within just TWO hours

An experimental drug that may stop Covid symptoms in critically-ill patients in just two hours is set to enter phase three trials, Israeli scientists say. 

Results on Allocetra show all but two of 21 patients given the drug were discharged from hospitals six days after the trial, on average. No deaths were recorded. 

Covid patients in the US spent 4.6 days on wards before being discharged in September, according to New York-based healthcare company FAIR Health. 

One 49-year-old volunteer given the experimental drug claimed he felt ‘something strange’ hours after being treated, saying he stopped coughing and found it easier to breathe.  

Yair Tayeb, who was discharged two days later according to Israeli media, said: ‘I couldn’t believe it’.

Scientists today said the results from the trial were promising but warned they could not prove the drug worked because it was not a Gold-standard study that compared it to a placebo.  

Israeli researchers say Allocetra works by suppressing the ‘cytokine storm’ sparked when the body fights off serious bouts of Covid, which can lead to organ failure and death.   

Yair Tayeb, 49, received Allocetra as part of the study. ‘I couldn’t breathe, I could barely speak, I was in a very very serious condition,’ he said. ‘But look at me now, going home.’

The drug being developed in Israel works by suppressing the body's immune response, reducing the risk of organ failure. Pictured is an Israeli hospital's Covid ward

The drug being developed in Israel works by suppressing the body’s immune response, reducing the risk of organ failure. Pictured is an Israeli hospital’s Covid ward

EXPERIMENTAL CANCER DRUG COULD HELP HOSPITALISED COVID-19 PATIENTS

An experimental cancer drug could help hospitalised coronavirus recover quicker, researchers believe.

Israeli academics today claimed 29 of 30 patients with moderate to severe case of Covid treated with EXO-CD24 made a full recovery within five days.

Further human trials are now needed to prove that the inhaled drug – designed as a medication to fight ovarian cancer – actually works.

The study did not compare the drug to a placebo, meaning scientists cannot say for certain that the medicine was behind the patients’ speedy recovery.

However, data shows the average coronavirus patient needing hospital treatment spends up to three weeks in a bed.

Scientists gave 30 patients with serious or moderate Covid infections a dose of the drug.

It is not clear how old the patients were but data shows younger patients are much less likely to die from coronavirus and recover quicker.

Twenty-nine showed significant improvement within three to five days. It is not clear whether the patients were also receiving other drugs or treatment.

The thirtieth patient’s symptoms also got better but outside of the five-day window, Israeli media claimed.

The successful phase two trial conducted in Israel involved 11 patients suffering from severe Covid symptoms, and 10 suffering from critical Covid symptoms.

It found those with severe warning signs were discharged four days after getting the drug, on average, but those with critical signs weren’t until around eight days later.

Independent scientists say it’s not clear what the difference was between severe and critical cases, making it difficult to assess how well the treatment worked.

They added that it was carried out on a small sample and there was no placebo group to show whether the medication had truly been effective.  

Patients that had been intubated or had suffered organ failure due to Covid-19 — the most severely ill — were not included.

In the trial, patients were given the drug and then monitored to show whether it had an effect. It is not clear whether they were given anything else at the same time which may have skewed the results.

It was expected to include 24 patients but scientists said the trial was completed early ‘in support of anticipated accelerated regulatory filings of the trial’s positive safety and efficacy data’.

MailOnline has contacted the company to ask for full details of the study.

The drug is being developed by Enlivex, an Israeli-based company that says it is pioneering treatments that calm the immune system.

Mr Tayeb, who was a patient involved in the study, said he had been barely able to speak and breathe before receiving the drug. 

‘They gave me the drug. Suddenly after two hours I started feeling something strange in my body,’ he told Israel’s Channel 13.

‘I stopped coughing, my breathing started to come back, I was feeling better. I stopped sweating. I couldn’t believe it.’

When being discharged from hospital he said: ‘Two days ago I couldn’t stand on my legs. Look at me now, going home.’

Professor Stephen Evans, an epidemiological expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who was not involved in the study, said the results showed this was ‘possibly a promising drug’ for treating severely ill patients.

‘It is possibly useful at the same stage of disease as that in which patients treated with dexamethasone has shown to be effective in large randomised controlled trials,’ he said.

‘The results here are not from a randomised or controlled trial and is effectively an observational study.’ 

He added that the results ‘should therefore be treated with great caution, saying: ‘It would be good to see properly randomised controlled trials comparing this, as yet unlicensed, drug with the cheap and easily available proven effective treatment of dexamethasone in similar patients.’

There were 26,000 patients in UK hospitals suffering from Covid-19 by February 8, figures from the Department of Health show

There were 26,000 patients in UK hospitals suffering from Covid-19 by February 8, figures from the Department of Health show

Professor Vernon Heerden, lead investigator and head of the intensive care unit at Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem which was involved in the study, said the results were ‘exciting’.

‘The Phase Two patients who have been discharged from the hospital are currently healthy,’ he said.

‘We believe these compelling results have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Allocetra in these complicated patients.’

The team are preparing to request Phase Three trial authorisation in Israel, which will involve giving the drug to a larger number of patients.

There are only a handful of drugs that have already been approved for treating Covid-19 patients including anti-viral remdesivir and drug dexamethasone which can calm the immune system. 

Allocetra is one of two drugs, the other being cancer treatment EXO-CD24, that are being investigated in Israel for Covid patients. 

Israeli academics this week claimed 29 of 30 patients with moderate to severe case of Covid who got the cancer drug made a full recovery within five days.

Further human trials are now needed to prove that the inhaled drug – designed as a medication to fight ovarian cancer – actually works.

It is not clear how old the patients were but data shows younger patients are much less likely to die from coronavirus and recover quicker. 


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