Viagra, Viagra research could effectively treat COVID-19

Research into nitric oxide’s ability to relax blood vessels led to the development of Viagra (sildenafil). This research, and Viagra itself, may now be used to effectively treat COVID-19, the sometimes deadly disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

A clinical trial has been launched in hospitals in Alabama, Boston, Louisiana, Austria and Sweden to test the efficacy of inhaled nitric oxide gas in COVID-19 patients. Researchers hope the gas will reduce the number of patients who require mechanical breathing assistance. Patients in the trial will inhale nitric oxide through a mask for around 30 minutes, two to three times per day.

Dr. Lorenzo Berra of Massachusetts General Hospital, who is leading the trial, said inhalation of the gas dramatically elevated blood oxygen levels in COVID-19 patients in Italy.

COVID-19 causes lung inflammation. Lung inflammation causes blood vessels in the lungs to constrict, reducing oxygen supply to the blood. This can lead to COVID-19 patients requiring mechanical ventilation and can ultimately kill COVID-19 patients. Nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessels, allowing them to transfer more oxygen to the blood. The gas has been successfully treating newborns with congenital heart defects who need more blood oxygen since 1993, as well as infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension who need more blood oxygen.

Nitric oxide can possibly treat COVID-19 in another manner: Belgian researchers discovered it inhibited the ability of the SARS-CoV coronavirus to reproduce. The researchers found that nitric oxide reduced the coronavirus’s ability to replicate by half. Swedish scientists confirmed this finding a year later.

As Berra watched COVID-19 spread around the planet he realized nitric oxide could effectively kill two birds with one stone regarding the disease, boosting patient blood oxygen levels and slowing the virus’s reproduction rate, helping the immune system to rid the body of the virus more quickly. The new clinical trial was the result of this realization.

A second trial has been proposed which would provide healthcare workers routinely exposed to COVID-19 patients with 10 to 15 minutes of nitric oxide inhalation at the start of every shift.

The trial involving COVID-19 patients is expected to involve 240 subjects and the trial involving healthcare workers aims to involve 470 subjects.

Viagra also relaxes blood vessels. A study in China is testing Viagra on COVID-19 patients.

Viagra, like most drugs, isn’t perfect. It has been linked to side effects, including melanoma, but the famous little blue pill may unexpectedly end up playing a significant role in saving lives during the current COVID-19 epidemic.

About the author

Nadrich & Cohen, LLP

Nadrich & Cohen, LLP is a California personal injury law firm with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Modesto, Fresno, Tracy and Palm Desert. The firm has been representing victims of dangerous drugs since 1990 and has recovered over $350,000,000 on behalf of clients in that time.

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