COVID-19: UVA Discovery Spurs Clinical Trial of Antidepressant to Fight Virus
An antidepressant medication is being tested as a potential treatment for COVID-19 after University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers determined it may prevent dangerous overreactions by the immune system.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are launching a clinical trial to determine if the drug fluvoxamine can prevent “cytokine storms,” in which the body is flooded with immune cells called cytokines. This frenzied immune response can lead to life-threatening organ failure and has been a major concern in patients with severe COVID-19 infections.
UVA researchers Alban Gaultier and Dorian A. Rosen found last year that fluvoxamine may stop the deadly inflammation known as sepsis, in which the immune response spirals out of control. The drug, they determined, reduced the production of cytokines. It proved effective in mice as a preventative treatment for sepsis, and now it will be tested as a protective measure for patients with COVID-19.
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