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      N-Acetylcysteine to Combat COVID-19: An Evidence Review

      1 , 2 , 3

      Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management

      Dove

      N-acetylcysteine, SARS-Cov-2, COVID-19

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          Abstract

          The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus (SARS-Cov-2) and is known for inducing multisystem organ dysfunction associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Current therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 have failed to effectively reduce mortality rate, especially for elderly patients. A newly developed vaccine against SARS-Cov-2 has been reported to induce the production of neutralizing antibodies in young volunteers. However, the vaccine has shown limited benefit in the elderly, suggesting an age-dependent immune response. As a result, exploring new applications of existing medications could potentially provide valuable treatments for COVID-19. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been used in clinical practice to treat critically ill septic patients, and more recently for COVID-19 patients. NAC has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating characteristics that may prove beneficial in the treatment and prevention of SARS-Cov-2. This review offers a thorough analysis of NAC and discusses its potential use for treatment of COVID-19.

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          Most cited references 55

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          Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China

          Summary Background A recent cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, was caused by a novel betacoronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We report the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics and treatment and clinical outcomes of these patients. Methods All patients with suspected 2019-nCoV were admitted to a designated hospital in Wuhan. We prospectively collected and analysed data on patients with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection by real-time RT-PCR and next-generation sequencing. Data were obtained with standardised data collection forms shared by WHO and the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium from electronic medical records. Researchers also directly communicated with patients or their families to ascertain epidemiological and symptom data. Outcomes were also compared between patients who had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and those who had not. Findings By Jan 2, 2020, 41 admitted hospital patients had been identified as having laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. Most of the infected patients were men (30 [73%] of 41); less than half had underlying diseases (13 [32%]), including diabetes (eight [20%]), hypertension (six [15%]), and cardiovascular disease (six [15%]). Median age was 49·0 years (IQR 41·0–58·0). 27 (66%) of 41 patients had been exposed to Huanan seafood market. One family cluster was found. Common symptoms at onset of illness were fever (40 [98%] of 41 patients), cough (31 [76%]), and myalgia or fatigue (18 [44%]); less common symptoms were sputum production (11 [28%] of 39), headache (three [8%] of 38), haemoptysis (two [5%] of 39), and diarrhoea (one [3%] of 38). Dyspnoea developed in 22 (55%) of 40 patients (median time from illness onset to dyspnoea 8·0 days [IQR 5·0–13·0]). 26 (63%) of 41 patients had lymphopenia. All 41 patients had pneumonia with abnormal findings on chest CT. Complications included acute respiratory distress syndrome (12 [29%]), RNAaemia (six [15%]), acute cardiac injury (five [12%]) and secondary infection (four [10%]). 13 (32%) patients were admitted to an ICU and six (15%) died. Compared with non-ICU patients, ICU patients had higher plasma levels of IL2, IL7, IL10, GSCF, IP10, MCP1, MIP1A, and TNFα. Interpretation The 2019-nCoV infection caused clusters of severe respiratory illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and was associated with ICU admission and high mortality. Major gaps in our knowledge of the origin, epidemiology, duration of human transmission, and clinical spectrum of disease need fulfilment by future studies. Funding Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission.
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            Dysregulation of immune response in patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China

            Abstract Background In December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged in Wuhan and rapidly spread throughout China. Methods Demographic and clinical data of all confirmed cases with COVID-19 on admission at Tongji Hospital from January 10 to February 12, 2020, were collected and analyzed. The data of laboratory examinations, including peripheral lymphocyte subsets, were analyzed and compared between severe and non-severe patients. Results Of the 452 patients with COVID-19 recruited, 286 were diagnosed as severe infection. The median age was 58 years and 235 were male. The most common symptoms were fever, shortness of breath, expectoration, fatigue, dry cough and myalgia. Severe cases tend to have lower lymphocytes counts, higher leukocytes counts and neutrophil-lymphocyte-ratio (NLR), as well as lower percentages of monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. Most of severe cases demonstrated elevated levels of infection-related biomarkers and inflammatory cytokines. The number of T cells significantly decreased, and more hampered in severe cases. Both helper T cells and suppressor T cells in patients with COVID-19 were below normal levels, and lower level of helper T cells in severe group. The percentage of naïve helper T cells increased and memory helper T cells decreased in severe cases. Patients with COVID-19 also have lower level of regulatory T cells, and more obviously damaged in severe cases. Conclusions The novel coronavirus might mainly act on lymphocytes, especially T lymphocytes. Surveillance of NLR and lymphocyte subsets is helpful in the early screening of critical illness, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
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              Compassionate Use of Remdesivir for Patients with Severe Covid-19

              Abstract Background Remdesivir, a nucleotide analogue prodrug that inhibits viral RNA polymerases, has shown in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2. Methods We provided remdesivir on a compassionate-use basis to patients hospitalized with Covid-19, the illness caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2. Patients were those with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who had an oxygen saturation of 94% or less while they were breathing ambient air or who were receiving oxygen support. Patients received a 10-day course of remdesivir, consisting of 200 mg administered intravenously on day 1, followed by 100 mg daily for the remaining 9 days of treatment. This report is based on data from patients who received remdesivir during the period from January 25, 2020, through March 7, 2020, and have clinical data for at least 1 subsequent day. Results Of the 61 patients who received at least one dose of remdesivir, data from 8 could not be analyzed (including 7 patients with no post-treatment data and 1 with a dosing error). Of the 53 patients whose data were analyzed, 22 were in the United States, 22 in Europe or Canada, and 9 in Japan. At baseline, 30 patients (57%) were receiving mechanical ventilation and 4 (8%) were receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. During a median follow-up of 18 days, 36 patients (68%) had an improvement in oxygen-support class, including 17 of 30 patients (57%) receiving mechanical ventilation who were extubated. A total of 25 patients (47%) were discharged, and 7 patients (13%) died; mortality was 18% (6 of 34) among patients receiving invasive ventilation and 5% (1 of 19) among those not receiving invasive ventilation. Conclusions In this cohort of patients hospitalized for severe Covid-19 who were treated with compassionate-use remdesivir, clinical improvement was observed in 36 of 53 patients (68%). Measurement of efficacy will require ongoing randomized, placebo-controlled trials of remdesivir therapy. (Funded by Gilead Sciences.)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                tcrm
                tcriskman
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                02 November 2020
                2020
                : 16
                : 1047-1055
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Pathology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine , Houston, TX, USA
                [2 ]Department of Pathology, Texas Children’s Hospital , Houston, TX, USA
                [3 ]Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Holy Family Hospital, Steward Health Care , Methuen, MA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Zhongcheng Shi Tel +1- 832-824-0814 Email zhongchs@bcm.edu
                Article
                273700
                10.2147/TCRM.S273700
                7649937
                © 2020 Shi and Puyo.

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, References: 55, Pages: 9
                Categories
                Review

                Medicine

                covid-19, sars-cov-2, n-acetylcysteine

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