A Glasgow-based biotechnology firm has claimed the discovery of two separate potential novel treatments for Covid-19 patients before they are put on ventilators.

The firm said it is now urgently seeking funding of £4m to accelerate safety studies and clinical trials.

ILC Therapeutics said it has patented a new Interferon-Alpha subtype, called Interferon Alpha 14, which can be administered to patients through injection or inhalation.

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This natural human molecule treatment could prevent Covid-19 induced Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which would mean that a considerable number of patients may no longer need to be on a ventilator, it is claimed.

ILC said it could also treat Covid-19 by boosting the body’s Natural Killer cells (NK cells) which fight the virus and prevent an immune overreaction that can cause fatal damage to the lungs.

In addition to its interferon project, the company is working with Professor Shoumo Bhattacharya at the University of Oxford. 

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It is claimed the two treatments could constitute an early stage and late stage treatment option for all Covid-19 patients and offers the prospect of many severe cases of Covid-19 making a good recovery.

The company has confirmed that Dr Alan Walker has agreed to become CEO to lead and streamline the development of the new treatments. Dr Walker has over 50 years’ experience in the life science sector. He is the former CEO of Internis and Ryboquin and spent 28 years at Warner Lambert.

Mr Walker said: “It is remarkable that a small, biotech start-up of this size would have discovered not one but two novel treatment methods, and I want to help charter the course as we hopefully bring these treatments to clinical trials fast and work to save lives.

“We have seen that few patients survive once they are put on ventilators, so the quicker we can develop this treatment in a safe and scalable way, the better.”

Mr Walker will be leading funding alongside chief scientific officer Professor Bill Stimson.

The funding will allow for safety studies and the first clinical trials, in early 2021.