Drug for asthma and eczema may help treat COVID patients

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Scientists from the University of Virginia found a medication used to treat asthma and eczema can improve survival rates for patients with moderate to severe COVID-19.

The team is the first to test this novel and promising approach to COVID-19 treatment.

The study centered on a monoclonal antibody called dupilumab, most often prescribed for skin conditions, asthma, and sinus congestion and swelling.

The treatment also proved safe in the small study, as expected, because dupilumab is already a safe and effective allergy medicine.

The team found that dupilumab improved patient survival at 60 days and reduced the number of patients who needed intensive care.

Almost 90% of patients who received dupilumab in the randomized trial were alive at 60 days, compared with 76% of patients who did not.

This clinical trial suggests that treatment with the anti-allergy medicine dupilumab may decrease deaths due to COVID-19.

The researchers were inspired to launch the trial after discovering that patients with COVID-19 were at significantly greater risk of needing a ventilator if their blood contained high levels of interleukin-13, a driver of inflammation in the body.

Dupilumab, sold under the brand name Dupixent, works by blocking the effects of IL-13.

The federal Food and Drug Administration approved dupilumab in 2017 for the treatment of moderate to severe eczema, an itchy skin condition also known as atopic dermatitis.

Dupilumab is now also used to treat patients with asthma and chronic sinus inflammation.

To see if dupilumab could improve the body’s immune response to COVID-19, Sasson and her collaborators enrolled 40 patients with moderate to severe cases in a clinical trial.

After 28 days, the two groups saw no difference in ventilator-free survival or in adverse events.

But by 60 days, there were only two deaths among the patients receiving dupilumab and five deaths among those receiving placebo.

Among the patients who were not already in the intensive care unit when they joined the trial, three receiving dupilumab were ultimately admitted to the ICU. That’s compared with six of those receiving placebo.

A large study to validate these preliminary results is being designed. If successful, this multi-site trial will open a new window for the treatment of COVID-19 and potentially other viral pneumonia.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about a universal antibody therapy to fight all COVID-19 variants, and this face mask can capture and deactivate the COVID-19 virus.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about how COVID-19 is linked to diabetes, and results showing kidney injury from COVID-19 may be twice as common as diagnosed.

The research was published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases and conducted by Dr. Jennifer Sasson et al.

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