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BetterLife Pharma planning Phase 2 trial using nebuliser and its AP-003 drug to fight coronavirus

The aim is to bolster patients' own immune systems to prevent them progressing to more severe stages of the disease

BetterLife Pharma Inc -
The trial, which is being designed with FDA guidance, will be a 150 patient Phase II study and will treat patients with pre-existing conditions early after they have been infected

BetterLife Pharma Inc (OTCQB:BETRF) (CSE:BETR) outlined on Tuesday plans for a clinical trial this summer to test a inhalation device to treat patients afflicted with coronavirus (COVID-19).

The firm hopes the nebuliser - an experimental delivery system, already used during the Wuhan outbreak in China - along with its patent pending interferon alpha2b drug AP-003 will help patients.

READ: BetterLife Pharma says studies validate the use of interferon in treating COVID-19

The aim is to bolster patients' own immune systems to prevent them progressing to more severe stages of the disease and help avoid potential damage to lungs, heart, kidneys and the brain - the leading cause of death in the virus.

Interferon beta is already used as an injection to boost the immune response of people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

But if the drug is inhaled via a handheld nebuliser, IFNa2b can be delivered directly to the lungs.

The trial, which is being designed with FDA guidance, will be a 150 patient Phase II study and will treat patients with pre-existing conditions early after they have been infected.

"The company hopes that an inhaler delivering AP-003 directly to a patient’s lungs could make a difference by not only treating those who are seriously ill in hospital, but by eventually also being used as a coronavirus prophylaxis/prevention, allowing sufferers and those at high risk the ability to treat themselves at home before even becoming ill," said BetterLife.

Dr. Eleanor Fish, a researcher with Toronto's University Health Network and now on BetterLife's advisory board, has said "awareness of interferon as a potential COVID-19 treatment has been slow to build and should be prioritized for larger-scale clinical trials".

Shares in BetterLife Pharma dropped around 4% in Toronto to C$1.90 each.

Contact the author at [email protected]

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OTCQB:BETRD
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