COVID-19: This 1970s drug prevents novel coronavirus from damaging lungs
Aviptadil is usually used to treat erectile dysfunction in men and Geneva-based pharma company Relief Therapeutics Holdings AG RFLB.S holds a patent for the proprietary drug formulation.
August 15, 2020 / 11:05 PM IST
Doctors in the United States have been using a new drug to treat coronavirus patients -- RLF-100 or Aviptadil. The 1970 drug has reportedly helped alleviate respiratory distress in critically ill COVID-19 patients, by effectively halting the novel coronavirus replication in the lungs.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved of it for emergency use already.
Aviptadil is an old proprietary drug formulation of synthetic human Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP) that is produced by immune cells and nerve endings in the human body. It is released throughout the body but is concentrated in the lungs and acts as a neurotransmitter. VIP improves muscle activity and is also known to better blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract.
However, it is the anti-inflammatory and anti-cytokine properties of the VIP that are helping in alleviating respiratory distress in COVID019 patients.
Studies have revealed that it helps protect alveolar type II cells which facilitate oxygen exchange in the lungs. The novel coronavirus is known to attack the lungs and cause breathing troubles, which Aviptadil may be able to prevent by limiting damage to the alveolar cells and the lungs.
Houston Methodist Hospital was the first to report recovery in a critically ill COVID-19 patient who was administered the 1970 drug.
Aviptadil is usually used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. Geneva-based pharma company Relief Therapeutics Holdings AG RFLB.S has a patent for RLF-100.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here