Can the gas that “gave us Viagra” hold the key to treating Corona?

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Doctors from all over the world are studying whether the gas that contributed to the production of the “little blue pill” (Viagra) will also help treat the new coronavirus while it continues to circulate.

Nitric oxide is known as a colorless gas that helps expand blood vessels, which in turn increases the amount of oxygen flowing throughout the body.

It was used to treat newborns with heart problems and led to the development of Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction.

Now, scientists from 3 US states and 3 European countries are testing the drug, to see if it can provide oxygen to the narrow blood vessels in the lungs, and to avoid patients’ need for ventilation.

Nitric oxide turned out to be so important that it was named a molecule of the year in Science in 1992. In 1998, 3 American researchers won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries of nitric oxide as an important molecule in the cardiovascular system.”

For years, doctors have been using a mixture of nitric oxide / oxygen in critical care to expand blood vessels, to treat children with birth defects.

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This gas is often inhaled as a last resort before the child is placed on a diaphragm (ECMO), which pumps and oxygenates the patient’s blood, allowing the heart and lungs to rest.

Nitric oxide is also sometimes given to diabetics, who have a low supply of the molecule, which can damage blood vessels.

In addition, the gas has been found to have antiviral properties against various types of corona viruses.

This was proven when nitric oxide was tested in patients during the 2002-2003 pandemic – severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Mass General is now overseeing a new international clinical trial, taking place in Massachusetts, Alabama, Louisiana, Austria, Italy and Sweden.

Corona virus patients with mild to moderate conditions will inhale nitric oxide through the CPAP device for 20 to 30 minutes a day, twice a day for two weeks.

Researchers hope that gas will “kill” the virus in the lungs, reduce damage to it, and reduce the number of patients who need to use a ventilator.

In this study, the medical staff will inhale a high dose of nitric oxide for 10 to 15 minutes, at the beginning and end of each shift.

Dr. Keith Scott, professor of pediatrics, surgery and medicine at Louisiana State University of Health, said in a statement: “We have tremendous confidence that this treatment will change the damaging effects of CoVID-19 but we must test it. If the results show promise, since this gas is already certified By the FDA, widespread use may start immediately. ”

Source: Daily Mail





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