The Danish health authorities recently gave the green light for a new treatment method against covid-19 to be tested on humans.
The method, which was developed by Danish researchers in collaboration with the Norwegian company SoftOx Solutions, involves inhaling an acid solution that acts against viruses, fungi and bacteria.
– Basically, it is very simple. Throughout the pandemic, we have disinfected our hands to remove viruses and bacteria. It is really the same thing we want to do with this solution, to remove and deactivate viruses in the respiratory tract, says Thomas Bjarnsholt.
He is a professor at the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen and is behind the idea. Bjarnsholt is also associated with SoftOx as a part-time employee and has previously been consulted in the company.
– SoftOx inhalation solution (SIS) can be a groundbreaking change in the treatment of viral and bacterial infections in the respiratory tract, says CEO Geir Almås in SoftOx.
Have tested on pigs
Phase one of the clinical trials will start in a short time and the method will then be tested on healthy people. Until now, attempts have been made on pigs.
– We started with mini-pigs and have made a number of attempts, to validate that the pigs can inhale this and get it down into the lungs in concentrations that are active against viruses and bacteria, but which are not harmful to the lungs, Bjarnsholt says to TV 2.
The testing of healthy people will start next week, Bjarnsholt explains. They will initially inhale low concentrations of the active ingredients, before gradually increasing this. The solution consists of substances that are supposed to mimic the immune system.
– Over time, we hope to be able to develop what is reminiscent of an asthma inhaler or a nasal spray that is used to absorb the solution.
Hope to become an alternative to antibiotics
Bjarnsholt estimates that the first phase of testing on humans will be completed in early 2022. If the results are good, they will apply to carry out trials on humans who have tested positive for covid-19.
The long-term ambition is that the method will also be able to work on other respiratory infections, as an alternative to antibiotics.
– If it goes as we hope, it will also be a treatment that can be used against flu, colds and other bacterial infections, the professor says.