This existing drug can save damaged lungs in COVID-19

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In a new study from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, researchers discovered that disulfiram, an FDA-approved drug, prevents the immune system from producing toxic webs known as neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs).

Many scientists suspect NETs help drive the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in patients with severe COVID-19 and other life-threatening lung injuries.

NETs are usually released during infections when immune cells, called neutrophils, confront a threat that is too large for the tiny cells to battle directly.

To extend their reach, neutrophils spew a sticky web of DNA and toxins, which indiscriminately poisons pathogens and the body’s own cells.

Because NETs can be so destructive, researchers have been searching for ways to block their formation.

Disulfiram, which has been used since the 1950s as a treatment for alcohol use disorders, was a promising candidate.

The team found that the drug prevents neutrophils isolated from blood from generating NETs. Then, they saw a stark reduction of edema [fluid] in the lungs, and the drug dramatically improved survival in lung damage.

Disulfiram is the first FDA-approved drug that can block NET formation.

The team showed the drug’s ability to block NETs and change immune signaling in a way that may be beneficial for treating severe COVID-19.

Clinical trials investigating disulfiram’s use in patients with symptomatic COVID-19 are underway.

If you care about Covid, please read studies about the cause of severe disease and death in COVID-19, and existing drug that could help prevent COVID death.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about how long can COVID-19 antibodies stay in your body, and results showing the most effective face-mask practices to reduce spread of COVID-19.

The study is published in JCI Insight and was conducted by Jose M. Adrover et al.

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