Fight against Covid and Omicron variants: new confirmations on the efficacy of an anti-tumor drug. Sabizabulin significantly reduces deaths in the most serious patients, those admitted to intensive care. An important reduction: 55%. The study was published today and is judged to be very encouraging, even if the narrowness of the sample examined leads to caution.
It is not the first cancer drug that is used to mitigate the effects of Covid, but sabizabulin – which is still an experimental phase – seems to give better results because, as reported by the New York Times, it prevents cells from building microtubules, cables. critical molecules that carry material from one part of the cell to another.
“These are really impressive results,” says Dr. Ilan Schwartz, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alberta, an independent expert who was not involved in the study. “So far there are few treatments for more serious patients and therefore there is a need for new therapies”. Meanwhile, Veru, the Miami-based company that developed the drug, has asked the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency authorization for its use.
Schwartz himself, however, points out that the sample of 134 patients currently being treated is relatively small and that “larger and more independent confirmatory studies” are needed.
Veru’s researchers have been testing sabizabulin for anti-covid function for two years. In particular, it aims to demonstrate its effectiveness in fighting lung inflammation, one of the main causes of death in infected with coronaviris and its variants.
After the first experiments on mice, carried out in 2020 by researchers at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, in May last year they moved on to tests on volunteers who were given sabizabulin pills. Volunteers in critical condition or hospitalized who needed respirators and also exposed to risk factors such as hypertension, old age or obesity.
Studies on volunteers
In the latest study – writes the New York Times – 134 volunteers received sabizabulin and 70 a placebo. Over the course of 60 days, the death rates of the two groups were significantly different: 45.1% of the placebo group died compared to only 20.2% of those who received the new drug. This difference translated into a 55.2% reduction in the risk of death.
Finally, other experts recall that, although encouraging, these results must be confirmed by other studies: unfortunately it is not the first time that anti-tumor drugs, such as molnupiravir, initially gave very positive results similar to those of sabizabulin, only to then settle at levels equally interesting but not as powerful as the reduction in half or more of the deaths of the seriously ill.