Besides frantically searching for therapies to combat this little coronavirus, scientists also continue searching for those factors which either help or hurt patients during COVID infection. Many risk factors find their ways into both scientific journals and social media. The question arose over whether NSAIDS, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, like ibuprofen and naproxen, could help or hurt. This study investigated the various potential mechanisms of impact and offers a final answer.
Oddly enough, the researchers admit that a twitter thread sparked their investigations. They initially doubted any contribution but their own research surprised them.
Dr. Chen and her team considered three mechanisms. They looked at whether NSAIDS might alter the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor which the virus uses to enter the cells of humans. They evaluated if the medications might alter the reproduction of the virus inside cells. They studied whether the medications might alter the immune response to the viral infection.
Prior studies offered support for any of these mechanisms, but only the third actually lead to any measurable impact in the mouse model. Studies remain to show if these changes occur in human infection by SARS CoV2.
While the ACE2 receptor hypothesis and the viral replication hypotheses were unfruitful, treating the mouse with and NSAID lead to two effects. First, the pro-inflammatory cytokines which would drive a response to the virus were lowered. Second, the levels of neutralizing antibodies did not go as high with NSAID therapy.
With this information in hand, we now look for research to tell us if this laboratory effect leads to real world change in humans. As we wait, we ask ourselves if NSAIDS like ibuprofen might deserve a back seat in treating COVID 19 infections. Yes, many want to treat fever and many want to treat the pains that often come with the infection. However, grabbing an ibuprofen might not be the best idea in this case. Maybe it is not the best idea in other viral infections either.
In helping our patients and you live a healthier abundant life, we appreciate the work that goes into research like this study. Some scientists took a twitter question and ran with it to provide the world a preliminary answer. We say thanks and then start guiding you and our patients on how to implement this research into your pursuit of a healthier more abundant life.
Jennifer S. Chen, Mia Madel Alfajaro, Ryan D. Chow, Jin Wei, Renata B. Filler, Stephanie C. Eisenbarth, Craig B. Wilen. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs dampen the cytokine and antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Journal of Virology, 2021; DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00014-21
Thanks to Science Daily:
American Society for Microbiology. “NSAIDs might exacerbate or suppress COVID-19 depending on timing, mouse study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210122154410.htm>.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.