Eighty percent of people with new coronal COVID-19 infection are particularly symptom-free or mild, but 20%, especially the elderly and patients with underlying diseases such as diabetes, often develop rapid lung injury, and some of them develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), requiring treatment with a ventilator or artificial lung (ECMO). The main treatment for COVID-19 is antiviral drugs, but in this medical environment, it is important to develop not only antiviral drugs but also drugs to reduce the severity of ARDS.
In patients with COVID-19 infection who are elderly or have an underlying disease such as diabetes, lung injury from COVID-19 may progress rapidly due to a background of lung inflammation, fibrosis, and emphysema. It has also been reported that the blood clotting capacity is increased, with microthrombi prominently seen in pulmonary disorders. In view of the global spread of COVID-19 and the social situation, the development of a drug to improve the severity of COVID-19 pneumonia is recognized as an urgent medical and social challenges. This is a time-sensitive issue, especially in areas where ventilators are in short supply.
RS5614, which we are developing, has been found to significantly inhibit lung airway inflammation, fibrosis, and emphysema, as well as strongly inhibit the formation of microthrombi. Since it is strongly suggested to be useful as a lung protection or treatment for elderly people with basic lung problems, we plan to develop it as a drug to reduce the severity of the lung injury associated with COVID-19 pneumonia. A phase II, investigator-initiated clinical trial is being initiated to evaluate the therapeutic effects and side effects of RS5614 in patients with mild to moderate pneumonia associated with COVID-19 infection.