May 18, 2024
Exploratory Clinical Trial Shows Promise for New Oral Treatment for COVID-19

Exploratory Clinical Trial Shows Promise for New Oral Treatment for COVID-19

A clinical trial called SIGMA4COVID, conducted in collaboration between Catalonia and Galicia, has revealed promising results for a potential treatment for patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19. The trial investigated the use of a drug called E-52862, which was found to be effective in reducing common symptoms of the disease. Furthermore, the drug can be administered on an outpatient basis through primary care centers, making it a convenient and accessible treatment option.

The study involved various medical institutions, including Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, the Neuropharmacology Laboratory of Pompeu Fabra University, the Pere Virgili Health Park in Barcelona, the Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela, the University Clinical Hospital of Santiago, Barbanza Hospital, and the A Estrada Health Center in Galicia. The investigational drug, E-52862, was developed by ESTEVE and was originally designed to treat neuropathic pain. It targets the SIGMA1 receptor, which plays a crucial role in the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

According to Dr. Rafael Maldonado, the director of the Neuropharmacology Laboratory, the drug acts as an antagonist to the SIGMA1 receptor, binding to it and disrupting the binding of viral proteins to the receptor. This disruption inhibits the replication mechanism of the virus, potentially preventing its spread within the body.

Dr. José Miquel Vela, the director of Research at Welab Barcelona, emphasized the importance of finding effective treatments against COVID-19 in the face of a global pandemic. The trial involved 120 volunteers who were diagnosed with mild COVID-19. Half of the participants received the drug, and the other half received a placebo. Recruitment for the trial took place between February 2021 and July 2022 at various primary health care centers and hospitals in Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela.

Although the trial did not show a decrease in viral load compared to the placebo group, it did demonstrate a quicker reduction in common symptoms such as headache, coughing, and sore throat in the group that received E-52862. The results indicate that the drug may be effective in alleviating these symptoms and could potentially be beneficial for patients with mild COVID-19.

Dr. Santi Grau, the director of the Pharmacy Department at Hospital del Mar, highlighted the significance of having a drug that can be administered in primary care settings. He emphasized that COVID-19 is a disease that will continue to be prevalent, and having a treatment option that can be easily accessed and administered is excellent news.

Drug interactions are a concern when treating COVID-19 patients, but E-52862 appears to have a lower risk of interactions compared to other antiviral drugs currently used. The drug’s mechanism of action, which blocks the SIGMA1 receptor, is not dependent on specific variants of the virus, making it potentially effective against different strains of SARS-CoV-2.

Dr. Mabel Loza, a co-author of the study, highlighted the significance of the trial, as it represents the first oral administration drug for COVID-19 developed in Spain. The trial was made possible through collaborative research efforts between public and private entities, as well as the involvement of primary care centers and hospital emergency services.

Dr. Jordi Monfort, the lead author of the study, explained that the goal of the trial was to prevent patients with mild COVID-19 from progressing to a severe stage that requires hospitalization. The results suggest that E-52862 may help achieve this objective. The drug’s ease of handling and administration in primary care settings makes it an important tool in managing the disease and reducing the burden on the healthcare system.

Overall, the findings from this clinical trial highlight a new potential treatment approach for COVID-19 and may have implications for the treatment of other viral infections. Further studies involving a larger number of patients are needed to confirm the effectiveness and safety of E-52862.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it