Interferon beta treatment may reduce the need for intensive care in patients with COVID-19

Preliminary results from a clinical trial into the effects of interferon beta treatment in patients with COVID-19 suggest that it reduces the number of patients requiring intensive care.

Interferon beta is produced by the body in response to viral infection, and is currently used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Patients with COVID-19 inhale the treatment using a nebuliser in the hope of stimulating an immune response in the lungs.

The initial findings of the study imply that the treatment reduces the incidence of severe symptoms and length of hospital stay in patients with COVID-19. However, the trial was small, and its findings have not yet been peer reviewed. Although described as a ‘game changer‘ by the head of the trial, further research is needed to understand the full potential of interferon beta treatment.