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Study launched to assess if asthma treatment ciclesonide can treat COVID-19

Published on 18/06/20 at 12:33pm
Photo by Doctor 4U

Researchers at the University of Buffalo have launched a study to see if the steroid treatment ciclesonide could be effective in treating the coronavirus.

Doctors will use telehealth and home visits to monitor patients taking the treatment through an inhaler twice a day for a month to see if it eases the course of the virus. It will involve up to 400 patients across four metro areas in the US. Half the patients in the clinical trial will receive the drug where the other half will receive a placebo, with the goal being to see if the treatment reduces symptoms, hospitalisations and deaths.

Dr. Brian Clemency, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said: “Some people with viruses or other illnesses feel better sooner, faster with these kinds of medicines, so our hope in this case is that it will be helpful too. Most patients who are going to be discharged from an emergency room are given Tylenol and other over-the-counter supportive medicines. Our hope is that this study will show that there is a prescription medicine that can help them feel better sooner.”

Ciclesonide is normally used as a maintenance therapy to prevent and ease early asthma symptoms. Under the brand name Alvesco, it was launched in 2006 and costs about $300 for a 20 day supply.

This trial launch follows a study from the University of Oxford, which found that the inexpensive steroid dexamethasone has proven effective in treating some of the sickest COVID-19 patients in England. Both this and ciclesonide reduce inflammation, which in coronavirus patients can endanger breathing and other bodily functions.

Conor Kavanagh

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