The 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19) has turned our lives upside down and caused unspeakable losses worldwide. We now have vaccines for the virus; However, it can take months for most of the population to be vaccinated. Unfortunately, the virus continues to increase and people need urgent treatment. Healthcare providers are doing their best as patients are usually treated symptomatically based on current protocols. The medical community has used a variety of medications, ranging from antivirals to vitamins and minerals. The solution could lie in repurposing a drug that has been used for years – amantadine – a treatment originally used as an anti-influenza A agent. However, it lost its effectiveness due to viral resistance. Coincidentally, doctors discovered that it can help treat Parkinson’s disease. Prescribing amantadine for this condition has recently led researchers to an interesting discovery. Polish doctors Konrad Rejdak and Pawel Grieb noted that 22 patients who had taken amantadine or memantine for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or cognitive impairment did not show clinical manifestations of COVID-19 after testing positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). At the same time, another practicing Polish physician used amantadine off-label to treat patients with COVID-19. Dr. Wlodzimierz Bodnar, a pediatrician and pulmonologist, fell ill with the virus and treated herself with amantadine. His symptoms started to subside within 48 hours of taking the medication. After recovery, Bodnar used his personal and clinical experience to develop a protocol for use in patients. He has treated hundreds of patients since March 2020, many of whom are have posted their testimonials and stories about gratitude online, where Dr. Bodnar for their help during their illness. He has also published his dosage recommendations guidelines online, emphasizing that patients should only use amantadine as directed by a health care professional. Bodnar has advocated for months that the drug should be established as a standard of concern for the virus; For that to happen, clinical trials are needed. It was recently announced that a clinical trial will begin in February 2021. Rejdak, the physician who saw the link between adamantanes and the lack of COVID symptoms, will lead this study. Two hundred patients will be recruited from numerous hospitals across Poland, including Independent Public Clinical Hospital No. 4 in Lublin. According to Rejdak, the results can be seen in as little as 2 weeks, and if the results are favorable, the trial will expand to more people. While we eagerly await the results, it is interesting to note that some case studies have appeared in literature around the world. A observational study from Mexico followed 15 patients with clinical symptoms from COVID-19. All patients were prescribed amantadine, and most were also on various other medications. None of them required hospitalization or mechanical ventilation. After 14 days of treatment, all patients had IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. In this difficult time, we have to consider different ways of dealing with this pandemic. While we distribute vaccines, we also need to keep looking for treatments, because a safe and effective medicine is needed right now. Thousands of people die daily from this devastating disease and others have less access to health care because hospitals are overwhelmed. A therapy would relieve the healthcare heroes who fight for patients on the front lines. If the new trial shows that amantadine is effective for COVID-19, it will bring hope and help to people around the world.
Read more at: https://www.worldnpost.com/evaluation-of-amantadine-as-a-possible-treatment-for-covid-19/