Researchers at University of Southampton are currently developing a new drug that could reduce the risk of respiratory viral infections that lead to worsening of symptoms among asthmatics.
Recent figures have revealed that over 80 percent of asthma-related emergency visits are due to respiratory viral infections, such as common cold, which spread to the lungs and cause worsening of asthma attacks.
Researchers are currently conducting clinical trials of the drug, known as SNG001, which they hope will reduce the asthma symptoms during the first week of infection. Around 134 adult asthma patients took part in the study and the researchers found that SNG001 drug reduced the risk of worsening of asthma by 65 percent compared to those who had taken a placebo.
Stating that it is a major breakthrough in treating asthma, lead researcher Professor Stephen Holgate said, "This is a really promising breakthrough for the future treatment of asthma and one of the most exciting developments that I have seen in years. This is the first clinical study which appears to demonstrate that, by boosting the antiviral defences of the lungs of asthmatics rather than trying to inhibit rapidly evolving viruses, we can limit the adverse effects of viral infection significantly to prevent worsening of asthma symptoms in a high risk group of patients."