Covid: An ‘old’ drug could ‘protect against lung injury’ and ‘blood clots’

WHO: We are seeing an increase in Covid deaths

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Covid is characterised by certain symptoms and its transmissibility rate; however, the course of the disease varies greatly. From lung injury to blood clots, the battle with COVID-19 is more challenging for some. Fortunately, research keeps looking into medicines that can aid recovery and reduce potential damage.

New research shows promising results of an “old” drug that has been used for more than 70 years.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, this drug may protect against lung injury and the risk of blood clots, according to researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

This is especially meaningful for those who might be suffering from a severe disease caused by coronavirus.

The drug in question is called disulfiram.

Disulfiram taken orally comes as a tablet and it’s only available on prescription.

This “old” medicine is used for helping to overcome a drinking problem.

It doesn’t represent a cure for alcoholism but it can help discourage you from drinking.

However, there might be more to this tablet.

The preclinical study found that the drug was able to protect rodents from immune-mediated lung injury during infection with the SARS-CoV-2 and a different condition.

The research explains how the tablet works: “Both types of lung injury are now known to be driven in part by immune cells’ formation of web-like structures called neutrophil extracellular traps, or NETs.

“These can trap and kill infectious organisms, but can also be harmful to lung tissue and blood vessels, causing the accumulation of fluid in the lungs and promoting the development of blood clots.

“Disulfiram blocks one of the steps in NETs formation.”

The reason for this is that disulfiram is able to interfere with a molecule needed to produce NETs called gasdermin D.

This means that no NETs are formed after disulfiram treatment, according to the research.

This finding prompted the researchers to test the drug as a NET blocker.

Dr Schwartz said: “Currently, there aren’t any good treatment options for COVID-related lung injury, so disulfiram appears to be worth investigating further in this regard, particularly in severe COVID-19 patients.”

However, there might be some limitations as the research reports that they looked at the form of Covid which was “less severe” than the worst human cases.

They add that disulfiram treatment a day before, or a day after getting infected, leads to “favourable outcomes”.

The researchers saw less NET formation and less scar-like tissue formation in the lungs.

The research added: “By comparison, the standard severe COVID-19 treatment dexamethasone, an immune-suppressing steroid drug, did less to protect lung tissue from disease-related changes, and led to higher levels of SARS-CoV-2 in the lungs.”

What’s more, different research is currently being done on Covid patients to confirm these results.

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