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Antidepressants can prevent severe COVID-19, U.Va.The study found



A study by the University of Virginia School of Medicine showed that the antidepressant fluvoxamine seems to prevent the COVID-19 infection from getting worse and can help patients leave the hospital.

This article was written by InsideNoVa.com, WTOP’s news partner, and republished with permission. Register now for a free email subscription from InsideNoVa.com.

A study by the University of Virginia School of Medicine showed that the antidepressant fluvoxamine seems to prevent the COVID-19 infection from getting worse and can help patients leave the hospital.

The clinical trial conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis compared fluvoxamine with a placebo in 1

52 adult outpatients infected with the coronavirus.

After 15 days, none of the 80 participants who received fluvoxamine became seriously ill, while the 6 patients who received placebo did not. Of these six, four were hospitalized and the course of treatment lasted from four to 21 days. One person stayed on a ventilator for 10 days.

Despite the small scale of the study, the researchers said that the results are statistically significant and that fluvoxamine is worthy of further study as a COVID-19 treatment. They plan to conduct larger experiments in the coming weeks.

Eric J. Lenze, MD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, said: “Patients taking fluvoxamine did not experience severe breathing difficulties or require hospitalization due to lung function problems.” “Most research treatments for COVID-19 are It is for the heaviest patients, but it is also important to find therapies that can prevent patients from getting enough supplemental oxygen or having to go to the hospital. Our research shows that fluvoxamine may help fill this gap.”

Researchers at the University of Washington initiated a randomized, double-blind trial based on the findings of Dr. Alban Gaultier of Harvard University and former graduate student Dr. Dorian A Rosen. Gaultier and Rosen discovered last year that fluvoxamine may prevent the deadly inflammation, called sepsis, in which the immune response goes out of control. They determined that the drug reduced the production of cytokines, which are related to the potentially fatal “cytokine storm” that may occur in severe cases of COVID-19.

This connection prompted the University of Washington team to study the possibility that fluvoxamine may have a protective effect on COVID-19 patients. They believe that this drug may help prevent an overreaction of the immune system caused by this new coronavirus. Their work suggests that it may be so.

“Because elevated cytokine levels are related to the severity of COVID-19, it is meaningful for us to detect fluvoxamine in clinical trials,” UVA Department of Neuroscience and its Brain Immunology and Glioma Center ( BIG) said Gaultier. “We still don’t know how fluvoxamine acts on SARS-CoV-2, but research is ongoing to find answers.”

The University of Washington team pointed out that recent research has raised questions about whether cytokines actually play an important role in COVID-19 death. The researchers say that if this is not the case, fluvoxamine may have a beneficial effect through other unknown mechanisms.

Dr. Angela M Reiersen of the University of Washington said: “This drug may have several ways to help patients with COVID-19, but we think it is likely to interact with sigma-1 receptors. Reduce the production of inflammatory molecules. “Past research has shown that fluvoxamine can reduce inflammation in animal models of sepsis, and may have a similar effect on our patients. “

The researchers emphasized that their research has some limitations. In addition to its small scale, the trial was hampered by other factors, including 20% ​​of the participants who stopped answering the questionnaire during the 15-day trial. (The researchers determined that none of these participants required hospitalization or emergency room visits, but they could not rule out participants seeking treatment elsewhere, such as in emergency clinics.)

Due to these limitations, the researchers said that the results of the trial should not be seen as a measure of the effectiveness of fluvoxamine against COVID-19, but as an encouraging indicator that the drug is worthy of further testing.

“If a larger clinical trial (Phase III) confirms the results, fluvoxamine will be the ideal treatment for newly diagnosed COVID patients,” Gaultier said. “Fluvoxamine is not an experimental drug. It is cheap and safe. It can be used as the first line of defense to reduce the burden on hospitals flooded by the COVID health crisis.”


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