In search of new alternatives for the treatment of covid-19, a team of North American scientists investigated the use off label — different from what is recommended in the package insert — of a drug used to treat multiple sclerosis, Interferon Beta-1a. However, the study did not find the drug’s benefits against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections.
It is worth explaining that Interferon Beta-1a has the same amino acid sequence as a natural protein called Interferon Beta — a protein of the type 1 Interferon class. In turn, it plays a key role in the body’s defenses. This is because infected cells normally produce it in the immune system’s fight against invaders such as the covid-19 virus. Furthermore, Interferon Beta has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the study failed to prove the effectiveness of synthetic interferon against covid-19. To do this, researchers from different US institutions — such as Emory University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — have tested the multiple sclerosis drug with the antiviral remdesivir. But the effects were the same as the treatment with only the antiviral in adults hospitalized by covid-19.
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understand the study
The researchers enrolled 969 people over the age of 18 at more than 60 research centers, including hospitals in the US, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and South Korea. According to the authors, 60% of patients included in the trials were white, 32 % were Hispanic or Hispanic, 17% were Black, 9% were Asian, 1% were American Indian or Alaska Native. These individuals were divided into two groups.
By analyzing the results, the scientists found that the combined use of the drug Interferon Beta-1a and the antiviral drug remdesivir was not associated with any extra benefit compared to remdesivir alone in hospitalized adults.
In addition, recovery time and probability of clinical improvement were similar in both test groups. On the other hand, the researchers found that Interferon Beta-1a was associated with more adverse events and worse outcomes in a subgroup of patients who needed oxygen.
The study was named Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial 3 (ACTT-3) and was conducted between August 5, 2020 and December 21, 2020. To access the full survey, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, click on here.
Source: Science Alert
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