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When a group of Yale School of Medicine researchers began a research in the spring of 2020, the loss of smell and tastea key symptom ofCOVID-19was not on the minds of a person.
Scientists, led byJoseph Vinetz, an infectious diseases specialist, were interested in confirming whether a prescribed oral medication to treat pancreatitis might reduce the viral load (the amount of viral illness in your body) of SARS-CoV-2 and improve symptoms in newly diagnosed patients.
Thestudy, which is now available on a preprint site and has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, ran from June 2020 to April 2021. It spelled out that the medication, calledcamostat mesylate, did nothing to reduce viral load. Nevertheless, to the researchers surprise, it brought a different kind of benefit. That was, according to Dr. Vinetz.
This is because loss of smell, known asanosmia, and loss of flavor are common COVID-19 symptoms. For many, the senses return as the infection fades. However, for others, the effect can still occur, but not as often as it has with other variants.
How was the''surprise'''' discovery on smell and taste loss discovered?
After seeing an April 2020 study, Dr. Vinetz said he was initially inspired to investigate camostatmesylate, and it was discovered that this medicinecould prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering cells.
Dr. Vinetz recruited several colleagues to collaborate, including Anne Spichler Moffarah, MD, an infectious diseases specialist, andGary Desir, MD, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine.Geoffrey Chupp, MD, director of the Yale Center for Asthma and Airways Disease, conducted the clinical study.
70 participants in the Phase II randomised experiment were recruited after the trial began. Participants took the medication four times a day for seven days.
The review, which started the trial when it became apparent that the primary objective of reducing viral load was not established, is justified by the researchers.
My daughter had COVID a year ago and she still has trouble smelling and tasting things, according to Dr. Desir. This medication appears to be capable of controlling that loss of smell and taste. It has very few side effects and has been extensively studied. This might be the type of therapy that is given to someone with COVID at the time of the infection.
If the medication were to be approved for this purpose, the doctors thought it might be a game changer. It would not be an expensive medication. Our goal was to select individuals who might lose their sense of smell or taste, and it is better to prevent it than wait until it happens.
COVID-19 patients may benefit from additional therapies.
Another benefit to this medication was that participants who received it reported significant improvements in fatigue, comparable to those who received the medication.
After day four, people who gotcamostat mesylatein the trial began feeling less tired and better overall, according to Dr. Vinetz, which was statistically different from the placebo group. And there were essentially no adverse effects in thecamostat mesylategroup.
Whethercamostat mesylate may help restore sense of taste or smell in someone who has lost it, according to Dr. Chupp.
A Phase III clinical trial and an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) foremergency authorization would be required. All of this would take some time, according to Dr. Chupp.
The doctors are optimistic that their surprise discovery will have a significant impact on the COVID-19 strategy. According to Dr. Chupp, a drug such as ascamostat mesylate provides an opportunity.