According to a new study, some of the key treatments for osteoporosis — a condition in which bones become weak and brittle — including denosumab, zoledronate, and calcium, may have a protective effect against Covid-19 in patients who take them.
The researchers said they saw a 30-40 per cent reduction in the rate of Covid-19 infection if patients are under such treatment.
The study was conducted jointly by Hospital del Mar, the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), Pompeu Fabra University, and the Pere Virgili Health Park. The findings of the study were published in the journal Aging.
The author of the study, Dr Jordi Monfort, head of Rheumatology at Hospital del Mar, explained: “There are indications to allow hypothesizing that certain drugs used to treat rheumatic diseases could interfere positively in the natural history of Covid-19, either by decreasing its incidence or by decreasing its progression to more serious cases.”
For the study, the researchers examined data from over 2,000 patients with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. They intended to figure out their relationship with Covid-19 infection.
For the research, the authors studied the different treatments and the evolution of rheumatology patients with non-inflammatory diseases and their relation to infection by SARS-CoV-2, their evolution, need for hospitalization and mortality.
In the case of some of the main treatments for osteoporosis, the study found a major reduction in the incidence of COVID-19 in patients who take them; specifically, between 30 and 40 per cent, according to Dr. Joseph Blanch-Rubio, head of Rheumatology, one of the authors of the study.
He stated: “The study suggests that some of these treatments may protect patients against infection by COVID-19, although further studies still need to be conducted on more patients to prove it.”
In the case of denosumab -- a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of osteoporosis -- its inhibition modifies the inflammatory response and acts on cytokines, which play a key role in infection by Covid-19.
Another treatment Zoledronate can also modulate the immune response and can stimulate its activity against SARS-CoV-2.
The results further noted that the antidepressant duloxetine may also have a positive effect on reducing the incidence of Covid-19.