A recent study has just shown that an inexpensive drug could be effective in rapidly reducing symptoms linked to Covid-19. This is famotidine, commonly found in the heartburn medicine called Pepcid. The 55 patients who received this treatment showed a marked shortening of the time to onset of symptoms, which is encouraging in the face of a limited number of treatments against Covid-19 worldwide.
Christina Brennan, MD, vice president of clinical research at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and first author of the paper, said people who took the treatment saw half their symptoms disappear in just eight days. compared to 11 days for untreated patients. Fourteen of the sixteen symptoms monitored improved, namely smell, taste, breathing and abdominal pain. Reviews have also shown Pepcid to reduce inflammation.
When the coronavirus enters the body, it binds to receptors on the cell surface. A chain reaction ensues, which can cause the immune system to overreact with severe inflammation in severe cases. Thus, anti-inflammatories could be a potential treatment for Covid-19, which is the case with famotidine.
55 unvaccinated people were provided with iPads to allow researchers to follow their symptoms for 28 days, symptoms which they had to estimate by assigning them a score. A first group had received famotidine at a higher dose than that found commercially, while the second had a placebo.
After 8.2 days, the first group that took famotidine saw a 50% reduction in symptoms, compared to 11.4 days for the same result in the placebo group. Also, it took 27.1 days for the famotidine group to achieve a 90% decrease in symptoms compared to 37.7 days for the other group. Thus, by preventing an exaggerated inflammatory reaction, at the origin of the excessive production of cytokines, characteristic of Covid-19, famotidine could constitute a potential treatment against the disease.
Due to the limited number of individuals tested, who had only mild symptoms, the results of this study are limited.
Apart from that, this study also had another purpose, to try to promote the diversification of clinical trials for Covid-19 and other diseases. Certain groups are often marginalized and underrepresented in clinical trials. The scientists wanted to remedy this situation with an accessible study design and a diverse group of participants.
According to the researchers, this pandemic has shown the need for greater inclusion and greater equity in access to care. Indeed, to hope to acquire reliable data, especially during clinical trials, the sampling should be varied and include individuals from all walks of life. Statistics have shown that Covid-19 has had heavier effects on people of color and those living in disadvantaged communities.