Drug Costing Less Than $2 A Day Helps Treat Critical COVID-19 Cases

Researchers have suggested in a new study that Metoprolol, a drug widely used for treating cardiovascular disease, is found to be beneficial in treating COVID-19 patients. The findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) by investigators at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares.

Most severe form of the COVID-19 is severe respiratory failure that requires intubation and is linked with high death rate. Pulmonary infection with the coronavirus can advance to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), wherein inflammation and neutrophil hyperactivation act as a central role. Currently, there is a shortage of therapies for ARDS associated with COVID-19, Medical Express reported.

The study was conducted by Dr. Borja Ibanez, the group leader of the Translational Laboratory for Cardiovascular Imaging and Therapy at the CNIC, cardiologist at the Hospital Universitario Fundación Jiménez Díaz (FJD) in Madird, and member of the CIBERCV cardiovascular research network.

The team who did the research found that metoprolol, a well-established beta-blocker, consists of a highly selective effect on hyperactivated neutrophils in situations of acute stress like myocardial infarction.

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With the role played by neutrophils in ARDS, the team hypothesized that metoprolol might be an effective treatment for patients suffering with severe COVID19.

The pilot trial analyzed the effect of intravenous metoprolol administration on lung inflammation and respiratory function in serious COVID19 patients who were intubated after contracting ARDS.

Dr. Ibanez explained that the team picked random 20 intubated COVID-19 patients to receive intravenous metoprolol, giving patient 15 mg daily for three days, or to a control group that did not receive metoprolol.

“We analyzed the inflammatory infiltrate in bronchoalveolar fluid before and after treatment and also monitored clinical progression parameters such as oxygenation and days on mechanical ventilation,” Dr. Ibanez said.

The team confirmed that the intravenous metoprolol treatment “significantly reduced neutrophil infiltration of the lungs and improved oxygenation.” The experts also witnessed “a clear trend among the metoprolol-treated patients to require fewer days on mechanical ventilation and therefore a shorter stay in the ICU.”

Dr. Ibáñez added that “while we need to be cautious with these results of a pilot trial, we have observed that metoprolol treatment in this clinical setting is safe, is associated with a very significant reduction in lung infiltration and appears to lead to very rapid improvements in patient oxygenation.”

The researchers then proposed that the intravenous metoprolol is a “promising intervention that could improve the prognosis of severely ill COVID-19 patients.” Researchers also said that the drug is safe, cheap, and readily available.