Molecular biologist spoke about the new method. Professor Mikhail Yevgenyev, the head of the Laboratory of Molecular Mechanisms of Biological Adaptation, Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences Engelhardt, Doctor of Biological Sciences, proposes to treat the coronavirus infected with the “well-forgotten” method from Soviet times.
- The "slow donor" of hydrogen sulfide - sodium thiosulfate, Soviet scientists discovered, in fact, back in the 90s, since then our doctors have actively used it to treat pneumonia of various etiologies. We can say that this drug is just a well-forgotten old. And I believe that it will be very useful in the fight against COVID-19, - says to NI professor Yevgeniev.
Clinical trials of the drug have so far been conducted on a limited scale. The molecular biologist and colleagues are now conducting pilot trials and are seeking to ensure that their methodology is included in the list of procedures recommended by the Ministry of Health for the prevention and treatment of patients with coronavirus.
Mikhail Evgeniev has been studying the protective properties of H2S active sulfur in his laboratory for several years. In experiments with rodents, hydrogen sulfide donors showed a strong effect on the course of experimentally caused pneumonia. H2S acts against single-stranded RNA viruses, which include COVID-19. Gas as such is poisonous, but at low concentrations it manifests itself as a powerful signaling factor - it has anti-inflammatory properties at the cellular and organismic levels, the scientist explains.
To this day, hydrogen sulfide donors, successfully tested on animal models of pneumonia, have not been licensed either in Russia or at the FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA), and, therefore, can not be used in humans.
In Russian medicine, at the same time, in the treatment of certain intoxications, a slow and completely safe, “slow” hydrogen sulfide donor — sodium thiosulfate (hyposulfite), approved by all inspections of the Ministry of Health, has long been used. It is also used in hydrogen sulfide baths in sanatoriums for the prevention of a wide range of diseases.
For some diseases and cyanide poisoning, it is used even in large doses.
“Moreover, domestic doctors, it turns out, still apply inhalation or intravenous injection of sodium thiosulfate in acute and destructive pneumonia in adults and children. So far, these are mainly provincial clinics and former Soviet states, but the results that patients show are impressive, ”says Evgeniev.
The scientist shared his ideas with the vice-president of the Center for Advanced Radiation and Biological Technologies of St. Petersburg, doctor of medical sciences Sergey Onikienko. Together they investigated the anti-inflammatory properties of sodium thiosulfate and revealed a persistent preventive effect in combination with “hot” helium-oxygen breathing mixtures that improve drug delivery to target cells. Preliminary tests have shown that thiosulfate inhalations inhibit the development of the “cytokine storm” (cytokines are biologically active proteins produced by immune cells).
In the initial stages, the proposed method using a hydrogen sulfide donor should prevent the propagation of coronavirus. On more severe ones, sodium thiosulfate probably prevents the development of pneumonia, reduces the degree of lung damage, which is often inevitable with mechanical ventilation, and generally makes the course of the disease easier for patients.
St. Petersburg doctor Onikienko eventually included sodium thiosulfate in helium mixtures, which he used in Syktyvkar to treat patients with confirmed COVID-19. The results exceeded all expectations, says Evgeniev:
- These inhalations make a very traumatic ventilation procedure unnecessary. Dr. Onikienko applied this method to dozens of patients with coronavirus infection, - says the professor.
In conditions when many patients with coronavirus due to lack of places in medical facilities are transferred to treatment at home, the proven effectiveness of sodium thiosulfate would be a salvation for many.
Nebulizers for inhalation are freely sold in pharmacies, as is a sterile 30 percent sodium thiosulfate solution.
Actually, a similar procedure was used by Dr. Onikienko at the Republican Hospital of Syktyvkar. After treatment with sodium thiosulfate from 50 patients who were already planning to transfer to mechanical ventilation, only one needed this painful procedure.
Interest in Russian development was shown in the scientific community of the United States. The work of Mikhail Evgenyev, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Mechanisms of Biological Adaptation of the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, on the use of sodium thiosulfate in the treatment of patients with COVID-19, was put up for discussion and sent to print in the American journal Cell Stress & Chaperones in a matter of hours.
From the editors
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