Available clinical data show that Carragelose binds previously known coronaviruses and other viruses that trigger respiratory infections
Marinomed Biotech AG has received funding from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) for the development of a SARS-CoV-2 therapy based on carragelose. The aim of the project is to clinically test an inhalation solution with carragelose as an acute treatment for viral pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2 or other respiratory viruses.
“A causal therapy directly in the lungs can shorten the duration of the disease and thus hospitalisation for patients suffering from viral pneumonia, reduce the number of patients in intensive care and thus bring enormous benefits for patients and the health system,” explains Eva Prieschl-Grassauer, Chief Scientific Officer, Marinomed. The patented carragelose developed by Marinomed is one of the very few active ingredients with clinical data from patients who have been infected with previously circulating coronaviruses. In 2014, an analysis of coronavirus infected patients showed that the duration of disease was reduced by more than three days in the carragelose-treated group when compared to patients treated with placebo. Eva Prieschl-Grassauer, CSO, Marinomed, said, “We can now capitalise on this strong basis. Due to the broad effectiveness of carragelose, we are confident that we can also achieve good results with the current pandemic coronavirus.” Within a year, data should be available clarifing whether the carragelose inhalation solution is safe and its use in patients is a health improvement compared to a placebo.
In the current project, the tolerance of the carragelose inhalation solution will be evaluated first in healthy volunteers. Subsequently, a proof-of-concept study in patients with viral pneumonia will be conducted at the Medical University of Vienna. In parallel, existing data on the effectiveness of carragelose serve as basis for in-vitro tests that will be carried out together with the Medical University of Vienna in order to establish safety and effectiveness.
Broad effectiveness of carragelose
Products containing carragelose as an active ingredient have been in the market for several years as nasal sprays, throat sprays and lozenges as therapeutic agents against respiratory infections. Based on the sole physical mode of action, the products are certified as medical devices and are characterised by their broad effectiveness against different respiratory viruses.
Carragelose was first successfully tested in-vitro against human rhinoviruses, human coronaviruses (OC43 and 229E), human influenza viruses A (nH1N1 and H3N2), non-human pathogenic influenza A viruses (H7N7 and H5N1), respiratory syncytial virus and human parainfluenza virus.
This broad effectiveness was later clinically demonstrated in four studies. Patients with early symptoms of cold and flu-like infections were treated with a carragelose nasal spray. The results showed that patients treated with these sprays had significantly shortened period of symptoms when compared to placebo patients. The viral load and the recurrence of symptoms were also significantly reduced. A subgroup analysis with those patients infected with either human rhinoviruses, human coronaviruses or human influenza A viruses showed that results in all three groups were similar to those in the group of all virus-positive patients. The greatest reduction in symptoms was achieved in coronavirus-infected patients who, when treated with a nasal spray containing carragelose, were symptom-free more than three days earlier than the comparison group with placebo treatment.
The current project is funded by the FFG as part of the “Emergency Call to research COVID-19 in the wake of the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2.” The planned project volume is above EUR4 million, the maximum funding share is 45 per cent.