A new clinical trial from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis will look at the antidepressant fluvoxamine to see if the drug can be used as a potential treatment for COVID-19, according to a press release.
Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant and a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), and it's usually used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Caline Mattar, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, explained in the press release how the two phases of COVID-19 are different and how this drug could help prevent the more life-threatening effects of the coronavirus.
"The first is caused by the viral infection itself, which gives people a fever and a cough and makes them feel ill, among other symptoms," Mattar said in the press release. "The information we have so far suggests that the second phase of the illness can involve a life-threatening inflammatory reaction — what we call a 'cytokine storm.' We want to learn whether fluvoxamine might help prevent that second phase of the illness."
The thought is that fluvoxamine could help relieve that overwhelming immune response that causes the cytokine storm. The trial would involve patients who are confirmed to have COVID-19 but who don't have severe enough symptoms to be put in a hospital.