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
OCT 14, 2022
Neuroscience
Being Prescribed Multiple Medications Linked to Dementia
OCT 14, 2022
Being Prescribed Multiple Medications Linked to Dementia
Within five years of being diagnosed with dementia, people are commonly prescribed three drugs or more to treat multiple ...
OCT 21, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Gel-encased Radioactive Iodine Eliminates Pancreatic Cancer in Mice
OCT 21, 2022
Gel-encased Radioactive Iodine Eliminates Pancreatic Cancer in Mice
Researchers have developed a radioactive gel that eliminated pancreatic tumors in 80% of mice. The corresponding study w ...
NOV 03, 2022
Health & Medicine
Studying Elephants' Facial Motor Skills Reveals Insights into Trunk Dexterity
NOV 03, 2022
Studying Elephants' Facial Motor Skills Reveals Insights into Trunk Dexterity
An elephant trunk can perform a range of large and fine motor skills thanks to "fingers" at the tip of the tru ...
NOV 10, 2022
Plants & Animals
Treating Cancer in Dogs Using "Click" Chemistry
NOV 10, 2022
Treating Cancer in Dogs Using "Click" Chemistry
Researchers from California and Denmark were recently awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for the development of what&r ...
NOV 18, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Study Finds Commonly Used Substances Increase Risk of Atrial Fibrillation
NOV 18, 2022
Study Finds Commonly Used Substances Increase Risk of Atrial Fibrillation
A study found that commonly used drugs increase the development of a potentially deadly heart-rhythm disorder called atr ...
NOV 29, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
75g Kale Per Day Could Keep Bone Fractures Away
NOV 29, 2022
75g Kale Per Day Could Keep Bone Fractures Away
Vitamin K1- a nutrient found in leafy greens like kale, cabbage, and spinach- may help reduce bone fracture risk in elde ...
Loading Comments...