Researchers discover an effective substance that can treat Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 04, 2020

Researchers at Uppsala University have discovered an effective substance that can treat the novel coronavirus.

Nitric oxide, the substance used to contain the 2003 SARS epidemic could also work in Covid-19.

Nitric Oxide is a compound with antiviral properties that is produced by the body itself. The study is published in the journal Redox Biology and EurekAlert!.

The lead author of the study, Åke Lundkvist, a professor at Uppsala University, said in an official statement: "To our knowledge, nitric oxide is the only substance shown so far to have a direct effect on SARS-CoV-2."

The researchers believe that NO can at least help in averting the critical symptoms of the virus. This can shorten hospital stays and reduce mortality.

However, it has not been possible to prove that any of these treatments have affected the actual virus behind the infection, researchers mentioned.

Nitric Oxide’s role

NO’s functions include acting like a hormone in controlling various organs. It also regulates tension in the blood vessels and blood flow between and within organs. NO can also be used to kick the blood oxygen saturation level during acute lung failure.

During the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus epidemic of 2003, the NO therapy worked wonders for the infected patients. This had significantly decreased the inflammation in the lungs.

The researchers are now interested to explore this property of nitric oxide - the protection it affords against infections, by being both antibacterial and antiviral.

Earlier in 2003, NO released from S-Nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP) proved to have a distinct antiviral effect.

The researchers from Uppsala University and Karolinska Institute are now investigating this key component’s reaction to SARS CoV-2.

The researchers stated that the SNAP showed a clear antiviral effect on this virus as well - and an effect that grew stronger as the dose was raised.

Åke Lundkvist added: "Until we get a vaccine that works, our hope is that inhalation of NO might be an effective form of treatment. The dosage and timing of starting treatment probably play an important part in the outcome, and now need to be explored as soon as possible."

The research group is now looking at the antiviral effects of the gas form of NO. The researchers are planning to construct a model in the laboratory in order to safely simulate a conceivable form of therapy for patients.

Published on October 04, 2020

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