Could interferon drugs help fight COVID-19?

Could interferon drugs help fight COVID-19?

(HealthDay)—In the race to find treatments for COVID-19, the antiviral drug remdesivir has gotten much of the attention. But researchers say a class of long-used drugs called interferons also looks promising.

Trials testing the medications are underway in several countries. A small study published last week in The Lancet found that a three- regimen, containing an interferon, helped hospitalized COVID-19 patients go home a few days sooner.

But there should be a bigger research push to test interferons as stand-alone treatments, said Eleanor Fish, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto in Canada.

In Wuhan, China, where the pandemic originated, doctors used the drug interferon alfa-2b to treat some hospitalized patients who were not yet sick enough to need a ventilator.

On average, the tactic helped the patients’ immune systems clear the coronavirus faster. It also seemed to reduce certain inflammatory proteins linked to severe COVID-19 complications.

Fish and her colleagues describe the results, from 77 patients, in the May 15 issue of Frontiers in Immunology.

Interferons are proteins the body produces as part of its natural defenses. They sound the alarm that a foreign invader is present, kicking the immune system into high gear.

Interferon drugs are lab-made versions of those proteins. They work with the immune system, and also have direct antiviral effects, Fish said. Doctors have used the medications for years to treat conditions like the liver infection hepatitis C, certain cancers and multiple sclerosis.

Interferons are being studied for COVID-19, in part, because they are “broad-spectrum” antiviral drugs, meaning they are not directed at only one kind of virus. There is also precedent for using them to battle severe coronavirus infection, Fish said. During the 2003 SARS () epidemic in Toronto, she and her colleagues found that interferon-alfa helped hospitalized patients, by speeding resolution of their lung abnormalities.

To Fish, either interferon-alfa or -beta could be effective in managing COVID-19. But, she argued, researchers should focus on studying the drugs as solo treatments, unlike the recent Lancet trial.

“We need to stop combining them with other stuff, because it just muddies the issue,” Fish said. “You can’t tell which drug is effective.”

Dr. Thomas Moore is an infectious disease specialist in Wichita, Kan., and former board member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

He agreed that trials of drug combinations make it difficult to discern whether part or all of the regimen brings the benefit. Studying interferons as a stand-alone is “logical,” Moore said.

As for interferon-alfa as a solo treatment, the experience of the Wuhan patients leaves open questions, according to Moore.

Fish’s team found that patients given an inhaled version of the drug cleared the virus from their bodies after an average of 21 days from their first symptoms. That compared with 28 days among patients given a different antiviral medication.

But Moore noted that was based on PCR tests, which detect viral genetic material—including bits of “dead” virus. He said it’s not clear what the benefits of that would be for patients: Would interferon-alfa get them out of the hospital sooner? Or lower the risk of severe complications?

Interferons do have side effects, including flu-like symptoms, nausea and weight loss. Both Fish and Moore said those side effects are significant when the drug is taken for the long haul: For a person with chronic hepatitis C who feels healthy, the side effects are hard to tolerate.

It would be a different story, Moore said, for an acutely ill patient given the medication for a short period.

Some researchers are also looking to interferons for treating mild COVID-19. Stanford University just launched a trial to see whether the drug interferon-lambda can help people who have just tested positive for COVID-19 and are still at home.

Patients will get a single injection of the drug, which lasts in the body for a week, said study co-leader Dr. Upinder Singh, a professor of infectious diseases.

Researchers want to see whether treatment reduces patients’ “viral shedding”—which could reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.

The researchers chose interferon-lambda, Singh said, because it acts on fewer body tissues than -alfa does. That could translate into fewer side effects.

Most research on COVID-19 treatment has focused on hospital patients, Singh noted. But, she said, the vast majority of infected people will not end up in the hospital; yet they can get quite sick, and they can spread the virus to others.

“We don’t have a vaccine yet,” Singh said. “Treating mild to moderate disease is an important area to focus on.”

Treatment with interferon-α2b speeds up recovery of COVID-19 patients in exploratory study

More information:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 treatment.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Could interferon drugs help fight COVID-19? (2020, May 15)
retrieved 15 May 2020

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.


Related posts:

Large-scale vaccine testing expected by July
France virus intenstive care patients drop below 2,000
Scientists fight online virus misinformation war
US begins crackdown on unvetted virus blood tests
Balanceakt: Gleichzeitige Bekämpfung von COVID-19 und den großen Volkskrankheiten
Mediziner fordern vollständige Öffnung von Schulen und Kitas
Right ventricular dilation linked to mortality in COVID-19
Lipid-metabolism enzyme may aid search in new treatment for chronic inflammatory liver disease
New studies reveal extent and risks of laughing gas and stimulant abuse among young people
Fear­ful Great Danes provide new in­sights to ge­netic causes of fear
Kritik am Patientendaten-Schutzgesetz - Biermann Medizin
Selbsttonometrie und telemedizinischer Datentransfer: Kick-off-Video zum SALUS-Projekt jetzt online
Neue Angiographie-Einheit erweitert Behandlungsmöglichkeiten deutlich
Sociodemographic factors associated with a positive test for COVID-19 in primary care
Professor Christoph Keplinger bringt neue Robotergeneration nach Deutschland
How mindfulness can help amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Schmerztherapie ohne Opioide nach roboterassistierten Eingriffen
When could a COVID-19 vaccine be ready?
DJO stärkt DACH-Region - Biermann Medizin
First COVID-19 autopsy series reveals new cardiopulmonary findings
Experts share what you need to know about COVID-19 as states reopen
Deutsche Dermatologische Gesellschaft e.V. - Aktuelles zu COVID-19
Using riboflavin, UV light reduces SARS-CoV-2 pathogens in plasma, whole blood
Scientists raise concern over hydroxychloroquine study
UK PM Johnson backs key aide over lockdown breach claims
Moleküle in Zellen zerstörungsfrei analysieren
COVID-19 patients may have lower stroke rates than previously suggested
New study evaluates facial feminization outcomes, benefits for transgender women
New York's daily virus death toll falls below 100: governor
App will reduce high risk of falls during and after lockdown
UN chief warns psychological suffering from virus is growing
Schmerzmedizin im Krankenhaus unter SARS-CoV-2-Bedingungen
Researchers identify therapeutic targets to prevent cancer-associated muscle loss
Type 2 diabetes linked to worse cognitive performance after a stroke
Continuously tracking fear response could improve mental health treatment
Interdisziplinäre zentrale Ultraschalleinheit des UKL als Ausbildungsstätte anerkannt
Blood flow recovers faster than brain in micro strokes
Coronavirus may never go away: WHO
Funktion des Nierenfilters geklärt - Biermann Medizin
Chirurgie-Ausbildung mit Roboter und Virtueller Realität
India coronavirus death toll passes China's
beacons of Latin American virus success
Insomnia may forecast depression, thinking problems in older people
Europe's coronavirus cases top two million
Parents that know a child's preferences can assertively guide exercise
MRI pregnancy study gives new insights into the all-important placenta
Countering the negative effects of a common antidepressant
Vienna Philharmonic says no increased virus risk for orchestras
Studie enthüllt viele Möglichkeiten, wie Karzinogene die Entwicklung von Brustkrebs auslösen
DKOU 2020 abgesagt - Biermann Medizin
National parks hope visitors comply with virus measures
Early indicators of vaccine efficacy
Coronavirus cases pass 5.25 million worldwide
Chicago Latinos see higher rates of COVID-19 infections
Forscher züchten kleine Lungen für die SARS-CoV-2-Forschung
Mit Hochdurchsatz gegen Krebs und COVID-19
Anti-malarial drug shows promise for brain cancer treatment
Schmerzen bei Rheuma: Immer mehr Patienten nehmen Opioide ein
Mortalitätsrate unter jungen Epileptikern weiter hoch
Antihormonelle Krebstherapien auf dem Weg zur Gleichberechtigung
UK adds loss of taste and smell to coronavirus symptoms
US health officials quietly release more reopening guidance
Cord blood study provides insights on benefits, limitations for autism treatment
Age, gender and culture 'predict loneliness'
Loosened restrictions, holiday weekend to test California
The prevention of childhood obesity would require stricter advertising regulations
Cell therapy treatment for cardiac patients with microvascular dysfunction provides enhanced quality
Diabetes mellitus: Ein Risikofaktor für frühe Darmkrebserkrankungen
Virus ignited in US no earlier than mid-January, study says
Radiologists detail COVID-19 infection controla and radiographer protection in CT exam areas
Researchers find potential drug treatment targets for alcohol-related liver disease
Problems with alcohol? 29 gene variants may explain why
COVID-19 patients who undergo surgery are at increased risk of postoperative death
Knochenkrebs : Die Schwäche des Tumors
COVID-19: Herz-Kreislauf-Komplikationen auf der Spur
Krankheitsauslöser für Pankreatitis identifiziert - Biermann Medizin
Besonders fitte Antikörper sollen gegen SARS-CoV-2 helfen
Study explores how older people manage distress
'COVID toes,' other rashes latest possible rare virus signs
Schwangerschaft: "Natürlich" bedeutet nicht automatisch gesund
Examining the impact of major life events on wellbeing
Zimbabwe COVID-19 infections spike to 132
Voluntary collective isolation is best response to COVID-19 for indigenous populations
Those with IDD more likely to die from COVID-19, study shows
Chemists develop foolproof new test to track the fats we eat
How should I clean and store my face mask?
Local health agencies struggle to ramp up virus tracking
Study sheds light on risks of breast cancer after pre-invasive disease
Deutsche Krebshilfe und die Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatologische Prävention raten zu neuer Normalität...
First prospective study of critically ill COVID-19 patients in NYC
Hobbies may help defeating depression
Eilmeldung: DOG 2020 findet erstmals virtuell statt
Using electrical stimulus to regulate genes
US bans Brazil travel over virus surge as Europe keeps easing
AbbVie schließt Übernahme von Allergan ab
Virologe Streeck wehrt sich gegen Vorwürfe: „Doof gelaufen“
Antikörper erkennt Alzheimer-Pathogene - Biermann Medizin
Study traces brain-to-gut connections
Woche des Sehens 2020: "Die Zukunft im Auge behalten"
Analyse: Frauen viel häufiger wegen Krebs berufsunfähig als Männer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

Early indicators of vaccine efficacy

Sat May 16 , 2020
Credit: CC0 Public Domain Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) researchers have shown that a specific class of immune cells in the blood induced by vaccination is an earlier indicator of vaccine efficacy than conventional tests for neutralizing antibodies. The current coronavirus pandemic, together with episodic outbreaks of infections caused by other pathogenic viruses, […]