Recently, a new clinical trial has been set to look at the potential advantages of nitric oxide on the patients of COVID-19 with severe lung damage by the researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Currently, the leading cause of death in people with coronavirus infection has been a type of lung failure otherwise known as acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Previously, researchers have noted that the use of nitric oxide can help maximize the blood flow in the areas of the lung which are still able to receive air and oxygen. This further helps in maintaining the oxygen in the bloodstream and cutting down the risk of mortality.
Similar results were also noted by researchers in patients of severe acute respiratory syndrome during the outbreak during the years 2002 and 2003. Since both SARS and COVID-19 are caused by coronaviruses, the effectiveness of nitric oxide can also be the same.
Read more on the effects of nitric oxide on SARS here.
In addition to improving blood flow, nitric oxide itself is also seen to work against the coronavirus itself due to its antiviral properties. The researchers are hopeful about using it to control and possibly reverse the condition of people with COVID-19 and severe complications.
At the moment, there are no approved treatments or therapies available that guarantee to cure COVID-19. Although there are many ongoing clinical trials based on the virus, how it causes the infection, related-complications, risk factors, and control, specific treatment for the infection has not been developed.
This is also the reason why health experts and researchers emphasize the importance of taking preventive measures to avoid the infection in the first place even if there have been successful cases of patients being discharged after treatment in different parts of the country.
With the increasing strain and load on the healthcare system of nearly all countries, treatment is required as soon as possible for COVID-19.
Not only will this help ease the pressure on hospitals and health care workers but may also stop the further spread of the virus. According to the statistics from the World Health Organization, there are now over one million cases of coronavirus infection worldwide.
Additionally, the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 globally has also surpassed ninety thousand regardless of the increased efforts by governments which include national level lockdowns and closing of offices, educational institutes, and even several businesses.
There is now an even bigger need for a specific treatment for the infection as well as a vaccination to control the number of cases and the global death toll. The new trial in setting to test nitric oxide by researchers at UAB now gives some hope.
The patients present in the UAB’s intensive care unit and are using a ventilator in order to breathe will be recruited in the trial as participants.
Vibhu Parcha, who is a research fellow in the UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease and one of the researchers working in the trial states that the use of nitric oxide may help the sickest patients of COVID-19 in fighting the infection and improving the status of their lungs at the same time.
Till the time the clinical trial is held and nitric oxide is tested, the researchers suggest the same preventive methods suggested by the official health authorities which include maintaining social distance, washing hands frequently, staying healthy in general, wearing a mask, and avoiding going to public spaces.
Upon the occurrence of any symptoms, a doctor or health care expert should be consulted as soon as possible to not only get medical attention at the right time and cut down the risk of further complications but also not spreading the virus to other people.