According to a new international study conducted by Italian and Australian scientists, beta blockers could potentially be used to treat COVID-19.
University of South Australia cancer researcher Dr. Nirmal Robinson, working with a Naples team, found evidence in animal models that the beta blocker propranolol suppresses the spread of cancer in the lungs, whose inflammatory profile is very similar. to COVID-19.
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Scientists have their findings in an in Limits in immunologyand they are asking for clinical trials to support their research.
Dr. Robinson, director of the Cell Stress and Immune Response Laboratory at the Center for Cancer Biology, says propranolol is widely used to treat heart disease, anxiety and migraines. Recent clinical studies have shown its effectiveness in other conditions, including cancer.
“Patients with COVID-19 suffer from many abnormalities, including inflammation, as the SARS-CoV-2 virus disrupts the body’s immune system. Beta-2 blockers could potentially reduce this inflammation and bring the immune system back into balance, ”says Dr. Robinson.
Beta blockers, including propranolol, are drugs that temporarily stop or reduce the body’s natural response to fight or flight. In turn, they reduce the stress on certain parts of the body such as the heart and blood vessels in the brain.
They have also been suggested as a treatment option for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
“SARS-Cov-2 reaches human cells via the ACE2 protein, infects the lower respiratory tract and causes severe inflammation and multi-organ failure.
Patients with comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease are at a much higher risk, “he says.
Other anti-inflammatory drugs, including tocilizumab (an immunosuppressive drug prescribed for arthritis) and ruxolitinib (a drug used to treat the rare myelofibrosis of bone marrow cancer), have already been used to treat more severe cases of COVID-19. researchers say.
“We believe that the beta-2 adrenergic pathway needs to be further explored as a potential target to reduce inflammatory symptoms associated with COVID-19. The next step is to conduct clinical trials to explore an alternative therapy for treating COVID-19 based on the lessons we have learned from cancer, ”says Dr. Robinson.
Reference: Barbieri A., Robinson N., Palma G., Maurea N., Desiderio V., Botti G. Could the beta-2 adrenergic pathway be a new target in the fight against Sars-Cov-2 hyperinflammatory syndrome? Front. Immunol. 2020; 11:26. doi: 10.3389 / fimmu.2020.588724
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