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Nitric oxide therapy can be central to the global war against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes “Covid-19,” according to a review from George Washington University (GW).
Nitric oxide is defined as an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory molecule with major roles in the expansion of pulmonary blood vessels in the context of viral infections and other lung diseases.
In the SARS-CoV-1 infection that led to the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003, nitric oxide curbed viral proliferation by cytotoxic reactions through intermediaries such as peroxenitrate.
It is one of many potential “Covid-19” treatments included in the FDA’s expanded access program.
“Nitric oxide plays a major role in maintaining normal vascular function and regulating the cascade of inflammation that contributes to acute lung injury and syndrome,” said Adam Friedman, MD, Professor of Dermatology at the George Washington University of Medicine and Health Sciences, and co-author of the study. Acute respiratory distress, “he added,” Interventions that protect against acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) can play a crucial role for patients and health systems during the epidemic. ”
Coronaviruses are classified as RNA viruses that primarily affect birds or livestock, but they can turn into a severe and deadly infection in humans. There is currently no registered treatment or vaccine for “Covid-19”. The lack of a specific treatment with a high mortality rate for the virus poses an urgent need for treatments that may control the virus’s proliferation and spread.
Led by first author Nagasai Adusumili, a fourth year medical student at George Washington University of Medicine and Health Sciences, the team studied data between 1993 and 2020 about the pathogenesis of coronaviruses and the use of nitric oxide as a treatment for respiratory diseases.
The researchers highlight the possibility that inhaled nitric oxide may improve clinical outcomes and relieve the rapidly increasing pressure on health care capacity due to Covid-19.
“With the emergence of Covid-19 as a pandemic with the ability to overwhelm our body and healthcare infrastructure, patients desperately need effective factors that can slow disease in their bodies and in their societies,” Friedman said.
The authors suggest that if the efficacy of nitric oxide for “Covid-19” is demonstrated, then its use as a treatment could be pivotal in controlling the epidemic.