A drug that is used for erectile dysfunction has the potential of treating the novel virus coronavirus or COVID-19, according to scientists. Aviptadil has been fast-tracked in the clinical trials taking place in the US. A round 300 patients having moderate or severe coronavirus are going to be given the drug, which they are going to inhale.

The drug has already been authorized as an emergency drug by the FDA, which means that it can be given to the patients outside clinical trials. Around 16 patients recovered or their condition got better within four days of inhaling the drug, the drug manufacturers claim.

Aviptadil for COVID-19?

Coronavirus
Coronavirus outbreak in China (Representational picture) Pixabay

Doctors from Houston claim that the drug helped a patient who was on the verge of dying to make a rapid recovery. It is a synthetic form of a natural peptide in the body called VIP, which protects lung cells from injury by decreasing the inflammation.

Researchers from Brazil have also proved that peptide has the ability to block coronavirus from entering the cells and replicating. Aviptadil is combined with another ingredient called phentolamine for treating erectile dysfunction.

Relief Therapeutics Holdings and NeuroRx Inc, which own the drug started that they have got the permission for progressing the trials of aviptadil for preventing respiratory failure in coronavirus patients, as reported by the Daily Mail. The clinical trials are expected to start in September and if the results are promising that the trials are going to expand, Relief mentioned in a statement.

Race to Find Coronavirus Cure

The drug needs to be inhaled, thus it is suitable for both hospital and home use. Aviptadil has already been having trials for ARDS, which is a life-threatening lung disease and a known complication of COVID-19.

As per Relief, seven out of the eight patients with severe ARDS showed improvement with doses of VIP. Six of them left the hospital alive while one died of an unrelated cardiac event and there is no information regarding the seventh patient.

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times infecting more than 18.8 million people globally as scientists continue work at rapid pace to find a cure for the disease. More than 100 vaccine candidates are at different stages of trial as an effective vaccine is expected by the first quarter of 2021.