Firm hopes to test life-saving drug on Covid-19 patients

NovaBiotics said it will 'fast-track' testing and repurposing on the drug Nylexa.

Firm hopes to test life-saving drug on Covid-19 patients Pixabay

By Steven Brown

An Aberdeen-based life sciences company is hoping one of its drugs could help tackle lung infections in Covid-19 patients.

NovaBiotics said it will “fast-track” testing and repurposing on the drug Nylexa, which has been in trials to help in bacterial lung infections associated with cystic fibrosis.

The company hope that the drug could be used to treat severe bacterial lung infections which were found in the worse cases of coronavirus patients in China.

Manufacturing of the drug for trials could start next month and clinical trials on hospitalised coronavirus patients could get under way in a “very short space of time” after approval.

Deborah O’Neil, CEO of Novabiotics said: “The impact of bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance in Covid-19 patients is beyond doubt.

“Nylexa is low risk, low cost, readily available candidate treatment that could be tested and deployed to combat the coronavirus pandemic very quickly.”

The firm say its drug can “supercharge’ antibiotics, boosting their efficacy against difficult to treat and even drug-resistant bacteria. 

Work is under way across the world to try and find a vaccine for Covid-19. 

However, predictions are it could be 12 to 18 months away from being readily available.

It means many firms are looking at pre-existing drugs and therapies to help with the illness.

Professor Dilip Nathwani, a consultant physician and Emeritus Honorary Professor of Infection at the University of Dundee, said: “Secondary bacterial infections have been long recognised as an important and devastating cause of mortality in patients with primary viral pneumonia. 

“In my 30 years of clinical practice, despite the administration of timely and appropriate antibiotic therapy to cover against these secondary bacterial infections, I have seen a significant number of patients tragically still succumb to the infection. 

“This is supported from data emerging during the Covid-19 crisis.

“Therefore, during this current pandemic of Covid-19 respiratory infections, the need to consider and test antibiotics that offer alternative and complimentary modes of action are of worthwhile and of critical importance.”