Inhalation of Nitric oxide Could Treat COVID-19

Researchers at Uppsala University have found that nitric oxide (NO) which was an effective treatment in the 2003 pandemic of SARS is also effective for treating SARS-CoV-2. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues the burden the healthcare systems and economies. Though efforts are put in the development of specific treatments, no prophylactic or effective treatment is currently available. NO is a potent vasodilator with broad-spectrum antimicrobial effect. NO released from S-Nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP) has been proven to decrease the hypoxia in severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The researchers evaluated the in vitro effect of NO for SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6. SNAP had a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on SARS-CoV-2 replication. Although it did not completely stop the viral replication, it prevented the development of viral cytopathic effects in treated cells. SNAP was also tested on SARS-CoV-3 3CL recombinant protease and a reduction in the protease activity was consistent with S-nitrosation of the enzyme active site cysteine. The researchers also stated that until a vaccine is developed inhalation of NO might be effective for treatment.

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