Scientists find promising new drug for mild COVID-19 symptoms

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In a recent clinical trial called SIGMA4COVID, researchers from Catalonia and Galicia have discovered a potential new treatment for people with mild COVID-19 symptoms. Their findings, published in the Journal of Infection, point to the effectiveness of a drug named E-52862.

If further studies confirm these results, E-52862 could become one of the few treatments for mild COVID-19 cases, with the added benefit of being administered easily through primary care centers.

This study involved several respected institutions, including the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Pompeu Fabra University, and the Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela, among others.

The drug, E-52862, was initially developed by ESTEVE to treat neuropathic pain. It works by targeting the SIGMA1 receptor inside cells, which plays a crucial role in the replication of the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2.

Dr. Rafael Maldonado from the Neuropharmacology Laboratory at UPF and Dr. José Miquel Vela from Welab Barcelona, significant contributors to this study, explained that E-52862 disrupts the interaction of the virus with the SIGMA1 receptor.

This interference potentially blocks the virus’s ability to replicate.

The trial was conducted between February 2021 and July 2022 and involved 120 volunteers who had mild COVID-19. These participants were recruited from various health care centers and hospitals across Barcelona and Galicia.

They were divided into two groups; one received E-52862, and the other received a placebo. Each participant took the treatment at home for 14 days.

While the drug did not reduce the viral load compared to the placebo, it did show a quicker reduction in common COVID-19 symptoms like headaches, coughs, and sore throats.

This reduction in symptoms was more pronounced in participants who took E-52862, particularly from the fourth day of treatment.

Dr. Santi Grau from Hospital del Mar emphasized the significance of these results, especially since COVID-19 is likely to remain a part of our lives. E-52862 presents a convenient option for managing the disease, particularly in outpatient settings.

Another advantage of E-52862 is its lower interaction profile with other drugs compared to some current antivirals used for COVID-19 patients.

UAB Professor Elena Martín-García noted that E-52862 works in a way that could be effective against different strains of the virus, regardless of their mutations.

Dr. Mabel Loza from the Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela highlighted the trial’s significance, being the first oral administration drug tested for COVID-19 in Spain.

This trial was a result of collaborative research efforts and is particularly noteworthy given the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Dr. Jordi Monfort, the lead author of the study from Hospital del Mar, mentioned that the primary goal of this study was to prevent mild COVID-19 symptoms from worsening and requiring hospitalization.

E-52862 appears to be effective in achieving this, easing the pressure on healthcare systems.

The findings from this trial open up a new mechanism for treating COVID-19, which could also be applicable to other viral infections.

This development is a significant step forward in managing the pandemic and highlights the potential of E-52862 as a convenient and effective treatment option.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about Scientists find a new cause of heart rhythm disorders and findings of Eating just one cup of nitrate-rich vegetables daily can reduce heart disease risk.

For more information about COVID-19, please read studies about new evidence on rare blood clots after COVID-19 vaccination, and how diets could help manage post-COVID syndrome.

The research findings can be found in the Journal of Infection.

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