Australian Researcher-led New Drug Candidate To Fight Covid-19 Begins Trial

BRISBANE, Australia — A drug described as potential new immunotherapy for COVID-19 will enter a clinical trial in the U.S. led by former Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer.

Developed by Brisbane and Seattle-based company Implicit Bioscience, the drug, IC14, will this week be tested in Covid-19 patients in 10-15 hospitals across the U.S.

The new drug, for which Frazer is the clinical immunologist and chief scientific officer, will treat immune responses to Covid-19 and its health complications.

Its aim is to reduce recovery time and the severity of symptoms of patients infected with the coronavirus.

Implicit Bioscience announced the beginning of phase 2 clinical trial in the U.S. through a tweet from their official handle.

IC14 is a monoclonal — meaning binding to one substance — antibody that works by dampening damaging levels of immune response to viral infections that result in respiratory distress and severe damage to the patient’s lungs, heart, kidneys, brain, and other organs.

The drug will be supplied by Implicit Bioscience, with the hopes of testing its use in treating hospitalized Covid-19 patients with respiratory disease and low blood oxygen in combination with the antiviral drug Remdesivir.

Co-founder Frazer says a strategy of widespread prevention remains vital to developing viable treatments that help people who experience a life-threatening response to the virus.

“The emergence of new viral strains that may be resistant to current vaccines and drugs highlights the pressing need for interventions to help people during the early stages of Covid-19 respiratory disease,” Frazer said.

“IC14 represents a world-first approach to treating the effects of Covid-19, and we are energized by the opportunity to participate in this important study. IC14 targets CD14, a master regulator of the immune response to infection and cellular damage, that is implicated in more than 500 diseases.”

The study will enroll between 300-500 hospitalized Covid-19 patients aged over 18 across the U.S., with the team monitoring the participants for 60 days. The United Nations Library of Medicine recently released the study details.

The drug is administered via intravenous infusion, and volunteer participants will be randomly assigned to receive infusions of either IC14 or a placebo for four days.

The participants or the study team will now know who receives monoclonal antibody or placebo until the trial ends. The results are expected to be released in early 2022.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Praveen Pramod Tewari)

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