Gout pill could be prime candidate to treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients says new study

WHO calls for action as Europe coronavirus cases rise

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According to the World Health Organisation, the vast majority of people who become infected with the COVID-19 are expected to be asymptomatic. However, older people and younger adults with serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, asthma and obesity have a greater risk of becoming severely ill. To date, treatments to appease the suffering of severely ill patients are limited. One new study, however, has identified a new candidate treatment, which is typically prescribed to manage gout.

A new study, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, found that probenecid has broad antiviral properties, which make it a prime candidate to combat COVID-19 infection, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and flu.

Probenecid is an FDA-approved medication, primarily used to treat gout, which has been on the market for over 40 years and has minimal side effects.

Ralph Tripp, lead author of the study, said: “There’s really nothing out there to safely fight these viruses.

“This antiviral works for all RNA respiratory viruses we tested, including COVID-19, RSV, coronavirus and flu all circulate in the same season.

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“Bottom line is you can potentially reduce infection and disease using this one oral drug.”

Current treatments for seriously ill COVID-19 patients – remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies – are administered intravenously.

Tripp explained: “These treatments have seen some effectiveness against COVID-19, but they’ve very expensive and very hard to come by.

“In reality, there are only a handful of options that can actually be used because of the cost, restricted IV usage, and lack of access.”

In a clinical development, Tripp demonstrated the drug works as a prophylactic before and after exposure to the virus – meaning it wards off disease.

The drug has also proven effective in fighting respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Now, the team are investigating what dosage of probenecid could have the biggest impact fighting viruses in people.

TrippBio, the pharmaceutical probing the drug’s effects against COVID-19, is set to begin clinical trials of the medication within the year.

Tripp added: “COVID-19, RSV and flu have a huge impact on health systems throughout the world.

“Probenecid has a potent antiviral effect against these viruses, and it works safely.”

About 18.5 million individuals are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions.

Data released in July revealed that the conditions most likely to be mentioned on death certificates with COVID-19 is mentioned are diabetes, hypertensive diseases, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and dementia.

Some studies have also suggested an increased risk of adverse outcomes in obese and morbidly obese people.

Although it is well known that older people are at high risk, the understanding of all the risk factors is incomplete.

The British Heart Foundations said that vaccines were found to be “just as effective” in people with most health conditions.

Furthermore, data shows that the dominant Delta variant nearly doubles the risk of hospitalisation.

Public health experts have found that people infected with the Delta variant were 85 percent more likely to be admitted to hospital than those infected with the Alpha variant.

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