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.

Published by Medicaldaily.com