UC researchers administer investigational COVID-19 treatment

This first-of-its-kind therapy could mean a new option for patients severely impacted

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati and UC Health have administered a first-of-its-kind potential COVID-19 therapy.

This new treatment, which is being studied as part of a clinical trial, known as the AT-100 trial, in mechanically-ventilated COVID-19 patients, will assist in reducing injury and inflammation for patients who are severely impacted by the disease and could lead to better outcomes.

The first dosing was administered to a patient at UC Medical Center in Cincinnati on Aug. 17.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, we are observing severe COVID-19 infections among a broader demographic of the U.S. population,” says Duncan Hite, MD, Mark & Alice Brown Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati and principal investigator of the study. “There is an immediate and urgent need for viable treatments that deliver improved patient outcomes, particularly in patients with severe disease.

“Initiating this clinical trial has proven to be very timely for the latest surge of infections.”

We are hopeful that [this study drug] proves to be an additional treatment option for the unfortunate patients battling severe COVID-19.

Duncan Hite, MD

The trial treatment being studied, which was developed by Airway Therapeutics, Inc., mimics a human protein known as SP-D, which is essential to the lung’s immune defense and is designed to reduce inflammation and infection in patients while moderating immune responses in a number of respiratory diseases inside and outside the lung.

In preclinical studies, AT-100 has shown potential to prevent SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, from spreading and ultimately leads to its elimination.

“These results showcase a promising therapeutic for COVID-19,” continues Hite, who is also medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at UC Medical Center.

The Phase 1 trial, administered to test safety and tolerability, is currently enrolling hospitalized adults who need intubation, a procedure involving the insertion of a tube into the airway to help a patient breathe, or mechanical ventilation. Experts will increase dosage to monitor and evaluate side effects and the feasibility of administration for up to seven doses in nine patients.

“COVID-19 is the first of several conditions for which AT-100 will be evaluated, and we are eager to advance this clinical trial for patients in need as a potential new weapon against the disease,” says Marc Salzberg, MD, CEO of Airway Therapeutics.

“Given the potential for AT-100 to both directly clear the virus from the lung and reduce lung inflammation, we are hopeful that it proves to be an additional treatment option for the unfortunate patients battling severe COVID-19 who are at highest risk for prolonged hospital stays and death,” says Hite.

Featured photo of Duncan Hite, MD, with staff at UC Medical Center, before the pandemic by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

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