APR 14, 2022 7:00 AM PDT

COVID-19 Drug Combo More Effective than Single Drugs

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

COVID-19 is more effectively treated by a combination of drugs than singular drugs alone. The corresponding study was published in Molecular Therapy

Patients with COVID-19 now have access to various drugs to reduce their symptom severity. Among these drugs, monoclonal antibodies are considered a first-line treatment. They work by sticking to the surface of COVID-19’s spike proteins to prevent the virus from entering human cells. 

Dexamethasone is another first-line treatment and is a glucocorticoid that has been used for around 60 years for its anti-inflammatory properties. While it reduces COVID-related inflammation, it is linked to side effects, including an increased risk of fungal infection. 

In the present study, researchers set out to see whether using these drugs together or individually more effectively reduces COVID-19 symptoms. To do so, they tested the drugs on hamster models of COVID-19. 

After treating the hamsters, the researchers examined their lung tissue under a microscope to see the extent of lung tissue damage. They also tracked infectious virus and viral RNA levels in different tissues at various points to see whether viral activity changed over the treatment course. 

While they found that antibodies reduced the amount of the virus present, it was of little aid in their model as inflammation, not the virus, damages lung tissue. However, they found that dexamethasone exerted a strong effect on neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that responds to viral and bacterial infections. 

"The corticosteroid preparation suppresses the immune system and prevents the neutrophils from producing messenger substances which would attract other immune cells," said Dr. Geraldine Nouailles, Research Group Leader at Charité's Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, and one of the study’s authors.

"This makes the drug extremely effective at preventing an escalation of the immune response,” she added. 

In the end, the researchers found that the best treatment outcomes came when hamsters received a combination of monoclonal antibodies and dexamethasone. 

"This type of combination therapy is not included in existing clinical guidelines," said Dr. Nouailles. "What is more, current guidance stipulates that, in high-risk patients, antibody therapy can only be given in the first seven days following symptom onset. In clinical practice, dexamethasone is only used once a patient requires oxygen therapy, i.e., at an extremely advanced stage of the disease. Its use in combination, however, opens entirely new treatment time windows." 

The researchers say that the approach must first undergo clinical trials before being added to clinical practice. 

 

Sources: Science DailyMolecular Therapy

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
APR 20, 2022
Microbiology
Rapid AST: A key weapon in the fight against AMR
APR 20, 2022
Rapid AST: A key weapon in the fight against AMR
Despite the dire, well-documented risks of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which threatens to kill 10 million people a y ...
APR 21, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Antidepressants and Anti-epileptics During Pregnancy May Affect Infant Brain Development
APR 21, 2022
Antidepressants and Anti-epileptics During Pregnancy May Affect Infant Brain Development
Fetal exposure to a mother's antiepileptic or antidepressant medication may affect infant brain development. The cor ...
MAY 25, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
NYU Researchers Find CBD effectively Reduces Post Operative Pain
MAY 25, 2022
NYU Researchers Find CBD effectively Reduces Post Operative Pain
  An NYU research study found that a cannabidiol (CBD) tablet safely and effectively reduced post-operative pain. T ...
JUN 02, 2022
Cancer
Call to Diversify Clinical Trials
JUN 02, 2022
Call to Diversify Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials represent an integral component of biomedical research.  These research studies utilize human subje ...
JUN 07, 2022
Health & Medicine
Drug that lowers blood sugar also reduces blood vessel dysfunction caused by aging
JUN 07, 2022
Drug that lowers blood sugar also reduces blood vessel dysfunction caused by aging
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives ...
JUN 09, 2022
Plants & Animals
Traditional Indian Medicine Helps Treat and Manage Type 2 Diabetes
JUN 09, 2022
Traditional Indian Medicine Helps Treat and Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Medicine has been practiced for millennia. Despite the dominance of Western medicine, many traditional approaches to tre ...
Loading Comments...