In a study from Karolinska Institutet, scientists found intravenous treatment with omega-3 fatty acids in older hospitalized patients in intensive care due to COVID-19 seems to have positive effects on the ability of the immune system to cope with the virus.
In patients with COVID-19, a result of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the immune system and the body’s activation of white blood cells are over-activated.
It can lead to a so-called systemic inflammatory storm, which worsens the disease state and can cause complications such as sepsis and heart failure.
In the current study, researchers found that omega-3 fatty acids can stimulate active healing of inflammation, without inhibiting the immune response.
By accelerating the healing of the inflammation without compromising the body’s immune system, it could be possible to counteract the most serious complications of COVID-19, researchers believe.
The study looked at 22 elderly hospitalized COVID-19 patients, one-half of whom were assigned to intravenous treatment with omega-3 fatty acids for five days and the other half to intravenous administration of corresponding volumes of saline.
The team showed that fatty acid metabolism to inflammation-healing molecules was stimulated in those patients treated with omega-3 fatty acids. Their immune function was improved.
The researchers are now planning for larger clinical studies, which will be needed to show whether the course of the disease in severe COVID-19 is improved through treatment with omega-3 fatty acids.
They say that stimulating the healing of inflammation with omega-3 fatty acids has the potential to lead to a new, cost-effective low-risk treatment for COVID-19, as a complement to existing treatment.
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The study was published in the journal Clinical and Translational Medicine.
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