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Is cure to coronavirus hidden in Viagra? Researchers are curious

BusinessToday.In     April 10, 2020

As they say, necessity makes strange bedfellows. From tobacco manufacturers to car makers, companies from across the industry are joining the fight in their own capacity. Meanwhile researchers are trying to formulate a vaccine for coronavirus but it is nowhere in sight. However, doctors across the world are researching whether nitric oxide -- the gas that gave us Viagra -- can be used to treat coronavirus infection.

Also Read: Coronavirus India Lockdown live updates: Lockdown extension certain; country's COVID-19 active tally at 6,634

The colourless gas helps in dilating blood vessels that in turn helps in increasing the oxygen flow in the body. It is used to treat newborns with heart defects and for the creation of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. European and US scientists are seeing if the gas can be utilised to provide oxygen to blood vessels in lungs and remove the patient's dependency on ventilators, as reported by Daily Mail.

It is not a new manoeuvre. Doctors have been using blends of nitric oxide and oxygen in critical care to dilate blood vessels and treat newborns with birth defects. The gas is pumped in a last resort before a baby is put on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine that pumps in oxygen. The gas is also used for diabetic patients. Nitric oxide has anit-viral properties against different kinds of coronaviruses. 

Nitric oxide was also used for treatments in the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003.

International clinical trials in Massachusetts, Alabama, Louisiana, Austria, Italy and Sweden are researching the effects of inhaling nitric oxide. Patients with mild to moderate cases will inhale the gas for up to 30 minutes a day. It will be done over two times daily for two weeks. Researchers hope to see some positive results. However, the CPAP machine that are used to inhale the gas are in short supply in several states.

Another trial proposes that health workers exposed to coronavirus cases inhale the gas for 10-15 minutes at the start and ending of their shifts.

Also read: Coronavirus live updates: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan hints at lockdown extension; India's tally nears 6,000

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INDIA CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: BusinessToday.In brings you a daily tracker as coronavirus cases continue to spread. Here is the state-wise data on total cases, fatalities and recoveries in one comprehensive graphic.

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