The Recovery study, the result of a partnership between the UK government and Oxford University, started yet another research arm, this time to investigate the possible effectiveness of empagliflozin in the treatment of covid-19. This drug is already used to treat type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease and heart failure.
The researchers intend to see if the drug is able to protect the organs from the damage caused by Sars-CoV-2, which would increase the chance of recovery of hospitalized patients. It is known to inhibit the action of molecules known as SGLT-2 — in the case of diabetes, this helps to eliminate excess glucose in the urine. It turns out that during a viral infection, blocking these molecules is believed to help stabilize certain metabolic pathways, reduce inflammation, improve heart function, and increase oxygen transport in the blood.
About 5,000 inpatients with covid-19 will participate in the study. The daily dosage will be one 10 mg tablet. In addition to assessing the risk of death, the researchers want to find out if the drug reduces the length of hospital stay or the need for a mechanical ventilator.
what is already known
Another drug that inhibits SGLT-2 and is used against type 2 diabetes — dapagliflozin — was recently tested in the context of covid-19. Coordinated by Einstein’s Academic Research Organization (ARO) in partnership with other institutions and published in The Lancet journal, the study included 1,250 volunteers hospitalized due to infection, all of whom had diabetes or another risk factor for cardiovascular problems. Result: it is safe to use dapagliflozin during hospitalization for covid-19 among these patients.
That same research even suggested some benefit against covid-19, but the results were not statistically significant. All the more reason to evaluate empagliflozin and see if this class of drugs has any advantage in this context.
This is the world’s largest clinical trial of treatments for patients hospitalized with covid-19, with nearly 40,000 volunteers from the UK, Nepal and Indonesia. Recovery has already shown that dexamethasone (a steroid) reduces mortality among critically ill patients with covid-19, for example. And that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin do not help the treatment.
In addition to empagliflozin, the drugs baricitinib (originally used for rheumatoid arthritis) and dimethyl fumarate (indicated for psoriasis and multiple sclerosis) are being investigated by the group for the treatment of coronavirus.
(Source: Einstein Agency)