Decades-Old Drug May Help Protect Against Severe COVID-19 Symptoms: Study
A drug that was approved by U.S. regulators more than 70 years ago may help protect against two major COVID-19 symptoms, according to a new study.
Disulfiram, approved to treat alcoholism, protected rodents infected with COVID-19 from lung injury in the preclinical study done by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Certain white blood cells called neutrophils form inside some people suffering from COVID-19, damaging the lungs. No drugs have yet been found to prevent this from happening, researchers said.
Disulfiram, though, dramatically reduced the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NET), which cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs and sometimes lead to blood clots.
Researchers dosed the mice with disulfiram a day before and three hours after infecting them with the virus that causes COVID-19. Some 95 percent of those mice survived, compared to 40 percent not treated with the drug.
The new study and a previous one that linked disulfiram with reduced NET formation and improved survival “suggest that disulfiram could be useful in the management of pathologies involving NETs, including lung injuries, sepsis, thrombosis, and cancer,” the researchers said in the paper, which was published by The Journal of Clinical Investigation on Feb. 8.