Pop A Pill to Keep COVID-19 Symptoms at Bay

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When it comes to treating COVID-19, could it be possible to pop a pill and avoid the serious side effects that sometimes develop? Researchers are testing an investigational drug that may lessen the severity of the virus.

For some, COVID-19 symptoms can be very mild at first—a stuffy nose, cough, or low-grade fever. But can you keep COVID-19 from getting worse? Researchers at University Hospital in Cleveland are studying an antiviral drug called Upamostat. They want to know if taking one pill a day, right away, will help.

“Like we learned with Tamiflu and flu, you know, typical antiviral effect is seen as soon as possible after the infection. So, we want people to be within three days, ideally, of having symptoms,” explained Grace McComsey, MD, of University Hospital Clinical Research Center in Cleveland.

Researchers are enrolling people who have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Half of the participants will get a placebo, the others will get the investigational drug to take once a day for 14 days. Patients will monitor their heart rates and oxygen levels and send that information to the researchers through a smartphone app.

“If you can give something oral and keep people home, so they're not hospitalized, they're not dying from it. I think it's a plus for healthcare, plus globally, for all these hospitals that were overwhelmed with COVID,” shared Dr. McComsey.

The trial is considered phase 2/3, meaning researchers are testing for safety and also establishing an effective dose.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive & Field Producer;  Roque Correa, Editor.

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