A Switzerland-based pharmaceutical firm, Relief Therapeutics, is developing a potential Covid-19 medication in the form of the Aviptadil, more commonly indicated for erectile dysfunction when co-administered with phentolamine.
Relief Therapeutics patented the formula under the name RLF-100 in the US and the continent of Europe. The Swiss company is collaborating with US-based NeuroRx to conduct clinical trials in patients. It has been granted approval by the FDA to be used in inhalation administration for patients suffering respiratory failure due to Covid-19. The chairman of the company says he has high hopes for the drug to be granted approval to remedy Covid symptoms in a couple of months.
In news released on Relief’s website last August 6, the drug exhibited encouraging results in blocking further multiplication of the virus in the human lungs and monocytes, and at the same time lessens cytokine production.
In the most extreme cases of the disease, patients are subjected to mechanical ventilation when their respiratory system begins to fail them. But even with the best care possible, there is still an 80% chance of mortality reported.
In the proposed US trials, admitted patients without respiratory failure will be given a 100 microgram dose of RLF-100 via nebulization three times a day for 28 days. Constant monitoring of blood oxygen will be done. The objective will be to prevent symptomatic progression to respiratory failure. The trial is hoped to begin in September.
Aviptadil, a synthetically-modified vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, is indicated for several ailments in Europe, so safety is not much of an issue. It has been approved for use in cases of sarcoid, pulmonary fibrosis, and bronchospasm. However, further studies still need to be done in order to test effectiveness against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes global pandemic Covid-19.
According to the chairman, chances for approval lies within a 60-70% chance.
“We are optimistic that treatment with VIP will not only help patients on ventilators but will help to stop the advancement of the virus in patients with earlier stages of COVID-19. By blocking cytokine synthesis in the lung cells and increasing the production of surfactant, which is key to the lung’s ability to transmit oxygen, we are hopeful that inhaled VIP will prove to be of clinical benefit across a wider array of patients suffering respiratory complications from COVID-19 infection,” says NeuroRx CEO.
A hospital in Houston has been using the RLF-100 and reported recoveries of severely infected and ventilated patients within just three days of treatment.