Antidepressant drug could ease COVID symptoms
A widely available and affordable antidepressant could help to ease the symptoms of coronavirus, and even protect against major organ failure, scientists say.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine examining the effectiveness of fluvoxamine against COVID-19 say the drug appears to be effective combating so-called immune cell "cykotine storms" which can cause organ failure in severe COVID patients.
Virginia University researcher Professor Alban Gaultier said trial results of the drug were exciting.
"If proven effective in decreasing the symptoms of COVID-19, this treatment would be a safe and affordable option for fighting the pandemic.
"Further, this approach could also be applied to other inflammatory conditions driven by cytokine storms, such as sepsis."
Fluvoxamine is usually used to treat depression or for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Washington University, led by Professor Eric J Lenze, plans to test the effects of fluvoxamine on 152 patients with COVID-19 in Illinois and Missouri.
The patients will receive either fluvoxamine or a placebo while locked down at home.
"Using a psychiatric drug to treat COVID-19 may sound counterintuitive, but it's no more counterintuitive than using a malaria drug," Prof Lenze said.
"This drug has been around for decades, so we know how to use it safely.
"If effective, it could be an ideal drug to repurpose for outpatients with Covid."
Fluvoxamine works by regulating the level of a certain chemical, called serotonin, in your brain.
Originally published as Antidepressant drug could ease COVID symptoms, researchers say