Canadian study may have identified new way to reduce symptoms among COVID-19 patients


While the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to climb, the fact a vaccine has arrived and been administered to Canadians means there's finally a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel that is the pandemic.

This week, there was more good news when it comes to fighting COVID-19--a new Canadian study revealed an omega-3 may help improve symptoms for those diagnosed with the virus.

According to the results, a prescription-strength omega-3 called icosapent ethyl (VASCEPA) may reduce inflammation and improve symptoms among COVID-19 patients.

“This study provides the first evidence of an early anti-inflammatory effect of icosapent ethyl in symptomatic COVID-19 positive outpatients--who represent the majority of patients affected by this disease in the community,” Deepak L. Bhatt, a professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said in a news release.

The study, which was conducted by The Canadian Medical and Surgical Knowledge Translation Research Group through an investigator-initiated grant from HLS Therapeutics and Amarin Pharmaceuticals, was presented by Bhatt as a Late-Breaking Clinical Trial on December 12 at the National Lipid Association Conference.

“The large and significant improvement in patient-reported symptoms may provide a safe, well-tolerated, and relatively inexpensive option to impact upon COVID-19 related morbidity, though this finding should be confirmed in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,” Bhatt said during the presentation.

The study was conducted on 100 Canadians--all of whom tested positive for the virus over a period of three days--who were selected by their physicians.

Those who participated in the study were randomly selected to receive the VASCEPA, a highly purified omega-3 fatty acid, or no additional treatment.

Those who were given VASCEPA were given a dose of eight grams daily for three days and then four grams daily for 11 days--for a total of 14 days.

Based on the findings, VASCEPA was responsible for a 25-per-cent reduction in inflammation, as well as a 52-per-cent decrease in symptoms after the 14-day treatment period, more than double the decrease in symptoms among those who did not receive the omega-3 (24 per cent).

“For the vast majority of patients in my practice who are diagnosed with COVID-19 who have mild to moderate symptoms, this could provide a safe and potentially effective approach to consider,” Gus Meglis, a family physician and member of the steering committee who was involved in the study, said in the same release.

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