A new asthma drug has been welcomed as a ‘gamechanger’ that could revolutionise the treatment of people with moderate to severe asthma, The Guardian reports.

The development of the drug, called Fevipiprant, opens up the possibility that the 250,000 people with this more severe form of the disease could now take a pill twice a day instead of relying on inhalers or using steroids.

The clinical trial of Fevipiprant was conducted by experts at Leicester University. They found that it led to a big drop in the symptoms of asthma, improved sufferers’ lung function, reduced inflammation of the lungs and helped to repair the lining of patients’ airways.

Chris Brightling, the senior research fellow and clinical professor in respiratory medicine at Leicester University who led the research study said, “This new drug could be a gamechanger for future treatment of asthma. I’m really excited by this because this is the first treatment that I’m aware of that has been able to show effects across the board.

“I’m excited by how effective it’s likely to be and also about its potential to reduce the need for patients to take oral steroids. Those people would be able to stop taking those drugs, which would make a huge difference to them.”

Asthma UK hailed Fevipiprant as a “massive promise.” Dr Samantha Walker, Asthma UK’s director of research and policy said, “This research shows massive promise and should be greeted with cautious optimism. More research is needed and we’re a long way off seeing a pill for asthma being made available over the pharmacy counter, but it’s an exciting development and one which, in the long term, could offer a real alternative to current treatments.”

There are currently 5.4 million diagnosed asthmatics in the UK, costing the NHS around £1bn a year to treat it.

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