Selective antidepressants shown to protect against severe COVID-19, new study – Community News
Covid-19

Selective antidepressants shown to protect against severe COVID-19, new study

(WTNH) — Doctors may soon have yet another drug to prevent people with COVID-19 from dying and it’s a class of drugs that have already been proven safe in millions of people: antidepressants.

A key to this type of drug is how cheap it is and easily available. This rounds out a handful of drugs that may save some COVID patients from serious illness or death.

These are early studies, but doctors are encouraged if discoveries like these continue during this pandemic.

“Over the past year, there has been some evidence that certain antidepressants in the SSRI class may play a role here,” explained Yale physician and researcher F. Perry Wilson.

He points to research results released Monday showing that those selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) made patients less likely to die from COVID, an average of eight percent less likely.

Two of the drugs, Prozac and Lubox, were found to make patients about 17 percent less likely to die from COVID.

“It’s not exactly confirmed yet,” said Dr. Wilson. “It’s not something you should run to the pharmacist and ask, but it’s intriguing evidence that some existing drugs could play a role here, which is great.”

WEB EXTRA: FULL INTERVIEW: Dr. Wilson discusses antidepressants as a protector against COVID, vaccinations along political lines, European COVID surge

The SSRI class of antidepressants is inexpensive and widely used and available worldwide for the treatment of mental illness. One expert called this potential repurposing a huge game-changer.

It’s not entirely clear how exactly the drugs work for COVID, but there are some compelling theories, Dr. Wilson said. He says SSRIs act as mild anti-inflammatories, which can act in the hyperinflammatory state that causes COVID.

Another theory?

“These SSRI antidepressants have a mild blood-thinning effect. One of the ways COVID can really wreak havoc is the formation of tiny blood clots in the body,” added Dr. Wilson up to it.

A Canadian researcher even spoke on Monday about the possibility of combining some of these drugs to fight COVID, for example by combining the antidepressant with a drug like Merck’s Pill, which interferes with viral replication.