US-based SAB Biotherapeutics has reported positive results from a Phase I trial of SAB-301 in the treatment of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
During the trial, altogether 28 healthy volunteers were treated with SAB-301 and ten others with a placebo.
Six groups of volunteers were administered with different intravenous doses and were evaluated six times over 90 days.
The subjects mostly complained about a mild headache and cold symptoms throughout the trial, which has appointed Leidos Biomedical Research affiliated medical affairs scientist John Beigel as lead investigator.
Beigel said: “This is the first study to show the safety of a potential treatment for MERS.
“SAB-301, an experimental treatment for MERS developed from cattle plasma, was safe, well-tolerated by healthy volunteers and had the same half-life as human-derived antibodies.”
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MERS is a newly discovered, contagious and sometimes fatal respiratory disease, caused by an MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
The first case of MERS was confirmed in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
World Health Organisation has estimated that since its confirmation, the disease has spread to 27 countries, affecting more than 2,000 people, with a fatality rate of around 40%.
SAB Biotherapeutics president and CEO Eddie Sullivan said: “Our novel immunotherapy platform goes back to nature with the use of human polyclonal antibodies, our own body’s army, to combat disease.
“The use of human convalescent plasma as a treatment has been proven effective, but short in supply.”
The Phase I study has been sponsored, funded and conducted with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
SAB is planning to proceed to a Phase ll trial to evaluate the potency and dosing of SAB-301 in patients suffering from MERS in endemic countries.