Cheap medication could save lives of COVID patients

While vaccines are still the best way to prevent catching COVID and are remarkably effective, scientists are still working on treatments for those who do catch the virus, especially those who develop severe symptoms.

Work on a treatment has been much slower going, but there is fresh hope that an existing medication may save the lives of severe COVID patients.

The drug, called fluvoxamine, is used as an antidepressant and in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Read: TGA approves Pfizer booster dose for all adults

An eight-month study into using the drug as a treatment for COVID patients leads researchers to believe it will reduce hospital admissions by up to 30 per cent and save the lives of those who do end up in hospital.

Professor Edward Mills, who worked on the study, explained that his team treated 739 randomly selected Brazilian COVID-19 patients, with another 733 receiving a placebo between January and August this year.

The researchers found about a 30 per cent reduction in hospitalisations among those receiving fluvoxamine compared to those receiving the placebo.

Read: ‘Super cold’ threatening Australia’s post-lockdown summer

“Fluvoxamine is, so far, the only treatment that, if administered early, can prevent COVID-19 from becoming a life-threatening illness,” Prof. Mills said.

“It could be one of our most powerful weapons against the virus and its effectiveness is one of the most important discoveries we have made since the pandemic began.

“In addition, this cheap, easily accessible pill is a massive boon to public health … allowing hospitals to avoid expensive and sometimes risky treatments.”

Read: How to tell if it’s a cold or COVID

Prof. Mills explained that the treatment could be a game changer for poorer countries with lower vaccination rates as it costs about $4 for a 10-day course of the treatment.

The benefit of using the drug as a COVID treatment is that its safety profile is already well known as it has been used since the 1990s to treat various conditions.

The drug was identified early in the pandemic for its potential to treat the cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients.

Cytokine storms are severe immune responses to COVID-19 that can cause potentially lethal organ damage.

Do you already take this medication? If so, do you feel more protected after seeing the results of this study? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Written by Ben



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