A cheap anti-depression pill shows promise for early COVID-19 treatment

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Healthy Living | COVID-19 Disease Prevention, Control, and Treatment | Antidepressant drug

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The $4 anti-depression drug, fluvoxamine, which apparently is the cheapest COVID-19 treatment, reduces inflammation suffered by COVID-19 patients

A cheap anti-depression pill reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with COVID-19 in a study hunting for existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat coronavirus.

Researchers tested the anti-depression pill and obsessive-compulsive disorder because it was known to reduce inflammation and looked promising in smaller studies.

The pill, called fluvoxamine, would cost $4 for a course of COVID-19 treatment. By comparison, antibody IV treatments cost about $2,000 and Merck`s experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 is about $700 per course. Some experts predict various treatments eventually will be used in combination to fight the coronavirus.

Researchers seek WHO recommendation for use by poor nations

The study co-author Dr. Edward Mills of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario hoped for a recommendation of the drug by the World Health Organization (WHO) after they had shared the results with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which publishes treatment guidelines.

“If WHO recommends this, you will see it widely taken up,” said study co-author Dr. Edward Mills said, “If WHO recommends this, you will see it widely taken up, adding that many poor nations have the drug readily available. “We hope it will lead to a lot of lives saved.”

Only 11% of people infected with the coronavirus who were tested with the antidepressant, fluvoxamine, required hospitalization

Researchers have tested antidepressants on nearly 1,500 Brazilians newly infected with the coronavirus, who are at risk of serious illness from other health problems such as diabetes. About half took antidepressants at home for 10 days, and the rest took pacifiers. They were followed for four weeks to see who went to the hospital, or if they spent long hours in the emergency room when the hospital was overcrowded. In the

In the drug group, 11% required hospitalization or long-term hospitalization to the emergency room, and 16% in the dummy group.

The results, published in the journal Lancet Global Health on Wednesday, were so strong that the independent experts overseeing the study recommended discontinuing the studies as soon as possible because the results were clear.  Questions remain as to the best dose of, whether it can be beneficial even for low-risk patients, and whether the pill should be used in combination with other treatments.

The antidepressant is still tested for the treatment of hepatitis

In a large-scale project, eight existing drugs were studied to see if they could fight the pandemic virus. The project is still testing a treatment for hepatitis, but everything else, including metformin, hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin, has not materialized. Dr. Paul Sachs of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the study, said

Merck’s low-cost generic and COVID-19 pills work in different ways and “complement each other.” Earlier this month, Merck asked the US and European regulators to approve the production of antiviral drugs.

Read on from ABC News

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