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Disulfiram, a treatment for alcoholism, may cut severe SARS-CoV-2 infection, reduce likelihood of dying from COVID-19

Excerpt from the Press Release:

Every day, hundreds of thousands of new COVID-19 cases and thousands of new deaths are still being reported worldwide, creating a need for drugs that can combat the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Now, new research led by investigators at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital points to a well-known and widely available drug called disulfiram (marketed as Antabuse) as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

In the retrospective study, published Oct. 28 in PLOS ONE, patients taking disulfiram for alcoholism were less likely to become infected with SARS-CoV-2, and those who did get infected were less likely to die from COVID-19 than those not taking the drug.

The researchers caution that since the study was observational, it cannot establish a cause-and-effect link between disulfiram and disease development. However, they say, the results are encouraging enough to warrant further study and clinical testing. The precise mechanism of the drug against SARS-CoV-2 is not yet known, but researchers have hypothesized that it may prevent the virus from taking hold by interfering with an enzyme it requires to replicate. Additionally, disulfiram may blunt the symptoms of severe COVID-19 by inhibiting a protein involved in hyperinflammation. If disulfiram’s effect against SARS-CoV-2 is confirmed, it could become a useful tool against the virus.

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