Doctors at a hospital here have used a new drug called RLF-100, also known as aviptadil, that has led to rapid recovery from respiratory failure in critically ill COVID-19 patients.
The drug has been approved by the FDA for emergency use at multiple clinical sites in patients who are too ill to enter the FDA's Phase 2/3 trials.
Houston Methodist Hospital was the first to report the rapid recovery of patients on ventilators and those with severe medical conditions after three days of treatment.
Aviptadil is a formulation of Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP), which is present in high concentrations in the lungs and known to block various inflammatory cytokines. NeuroRx and Relief Therapeutics have partnered to develop the drug.
According to a statement from the drug maker NeuroRX, independent researchers have reported that aviptadil blocked replication of the SARS coronavirus in human lung cells and monocytes.
According to the report, a 54-year-old man who contracted COVID-19 while being treated for rejection of a double lung transplant came off a ventilator within four days. And, similar results were seen in more than 15 patients.
The drug appeared to have rapidly cleared pneumonitis findings on an X-ray, improved blood oxygen and a 50 per cent or greater average decrease in laboratory markers associated with COVID-19 inflammation, the statement said.
"No other antiviral agent has demonstrated rapid recovery from viral infection and demonstrated laboratory inhibition of viral replication," said Prof. Jonathan Javitt, CEO and Chairman of NeuroRx.
"We are conducting placebo-controlled trials to see whether the observations made in the case-control and open-label studies will be confirmed for less ill patients with COVID-19-related respiratory failure. Our independent Data Monitoring Committee will be conducting an interim analysis of these data later this month," Javitt said.