A new drug could revolutionize the way the medical community handles COVID-19 treatment.

On Thursday, a team of scientists presented the findings of their study on a newly developed drug for COVID-19. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, their research found that a single dose of pegylated interferon lambda could successfully treat an early infection.

The team led by McMaster University researchers Gilmar Reis and Edward Mills conducted a randomized, controlled, adaptive platform trial with predominantly vaccinated adults in Canada and Brazil. Outpatients manifesting an acute infection within 7 days after the onset had either the pegylated interferon lambda or placebo.

A total of 933 patients received the new drug, but two were excluded due to protocol deviations. Meanwhile, 1,019 had the placebo. About 83% of all the participants had been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.

After analyzing data, the researchers found that 25 of the 931 (2.7%) pegylated interferon lambda group got hospitalized or visited the emergency room due to COVID-19. On the other hand, 57 out of the 1,018 (5.6%) placebo patients had the same experience.

Though the incidence of adverse events was similar in both groups, patients in the drug group had lower viral loads by day 7 compared to the placebo group participants.

The team concluded that pegylated interferon lambda helped lower the incidence of hospitalization or an emergency room visit among predominantly vaccinated COVID-19 patients.

The researchers claimed that one dose of the drug under a patient’s skin appeared more effective than any other currently available treatment for early Covid, according to News Medical.

“Pegylated interferon lambda is a safe drug, and it is a single treatment approach,” Reis said. “Lambda is not virus-specific as it works on all the different COVID-19 variants, and it probably also has a role to play in combatting other respiratory viruses such as influenza.”

“This discovery allows us to enter a new era where you can have pan-virus interventions against a range of diseases. This could save tens of thousands of lives,” Mills added.

The new drug’s single-injection dosage gives it a big advantage over rival treatments. For one, Pfizer’s Paxlovid drug for Covid requires patients to take 30 pills over five days for the treatment to work, Japan Today reported.