KEY POINTS

  • There is no vaccine or potential treatment yet for the highly-contagious respiratory illness
  • Supportive care and experimental drugs are currently sought-after
  • Experts are trying to determine if the blood pressure drug can help combat the symptoms

Experts worldwide are experimenting with drugs to treat COVID-19. Those at the University of Minnesota have been testing if the blood pressure medication Losartan can prevent coronavirus infection or reduce the symptoms.

Since there isn’t a potential vaccine or treatment yet for the highly-contagious respiratory illness, patients have to only rely upon supportive care for now.

The generic blood pressure medication might ultimately help doctors fight back against the spread of COVID-19. The scientists are trying to determine whether Losartan can prevent severe symptoms and perhaps even prevent the rapid multiplication of the virus within a patient’s body, Reuters reported.

Losartan, also available under the brand name ‘Cozaar,’ blocks a specific cell receptor that the coronavirus might exploit. Preventing the deadly virus from binding to cells could significantly alter the patient’s recovery time and can also help curb the spread of the pandemic. However, we need to ensure that the drug works this way, BGR mentioned.

By far, only those exhibiting symptoms have been tested and lockdowns and quarantines have been advised to even those who appear healthy. Without any information pertaining to who has or has not been infected, such measures aren’t really sufficient to prevent COVID-19 from wreaking havoc.

Therefore, scientists have been experimenting with new drugs such as the blood pressure Losartan and the malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to find out if they can help prevent infections or reduce recovery times. Trials, currently, are underway and we might get the results within weeks.

“We are trying to leverage the science to see if we can do something in addition to minimizing contacts,” Reuters quoted Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School and vice president for clinical affairs. “Results are likely in weeks, not months,” he added.

A couple of trials are, currently, studying if Losartan can be a potential treatment for COVID-19 and another 1,500-person trial is currently underway to find out if hydroxychloroquine can prevent or reduce the severity of coronavirus symptoms.

If they find out that one of these drugs would be effective, the next would be to ensure its safety. After all, preventing coronavirus infection isn’t beneficial if the drug poses potentially fatal side effects anyway.

coronavirus home testing kit coronavirus home testing kit Photo: geralt - pixabay