A pilot study involving a small number of Covid-19 patients at the Amrita Hospital, Kochi and scientists from the School of Biotechnology at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham says inhaled Nitric Oxide (iNO) gas kills SARS-COV-2 virus and can cure Covid-19 patients fast. Similarly, an unrelated study conducted by researchers from University of Southampton say copper surfaces kill SARS-COV-2 virus in one minute, while surfaces that were made of plastics, glass, metal, etc. took hours to inactivate the virus.

In the clinical trial to repurpose use of iNO in Covid-19, patients at Amrita Hospital who received the iNO therapy recovered faster with lesser complications and zero mortality rates compared to patients who received the standard Covid-19 treatment without iNO at the hospitals ICU, claims sources with Amrita Hospital.

Outcome of the study, published in a medical journal, says inhaled Nitric Oxide (iNO) is virucidal and kills SARS-COV-2 virus, apart from preventing its effective attachment to human host cells.

Nitric oxide was first identified as a gas by Joseph Priestly in 1772 and is a simple molecule consisting of just one atom of oxygen and one atom of nitrogen. It has been used in treating medical conditions for a long time. Nitric Oxide gas has for many years been used worldwide for the treatment of medical conditions like the Blue Baby Syndrome and for treatment of heart or lung transplant patients.

Bipin Nair, Dean of Life Sciences at Amrita School of Biotechnology, says looking at Nitric Oxide as a treatment option for Covid-19 stemmed from an early study conducted by a Swedish group which had suggested that the gas can prove effective in curbing the SARS-COV-2 virus. "It induces biochemical changes which directly affect the spike protein of the virus. This protein is the main culprit in interacting with our body’s receptors and immune system and creating havoc.”

The team of experts at Amrita Hospital headed by Dr. Aveek Jayant, Dr. Dipu T.S and Dr. Merlin Moni, conducted the trial on a small group of Covid-19 patients admitted at Amrita Hospital. Dr. Victor Nizet, Professor & Vice Chair for Basic Research at The University of California, San Diego, USA was also closely associated with the study. Out of the 25 patients selected for the study, 14 were given iNO along with standard treatment for Covid-19, while 11 patients were in the control standard treatment group. The patients treated with iNO showed a significant drop in their viral load, according to these doctors at the Amrita Hospital. Now Amrita researchers are planning to take the study to the next level with a large clinical trial.

Meanwhile many healthcare experts are advocating the use of copper and its alloys in combating infections. “Copper and its alloys, such as brass, bronze and others, are one of the world’s most effective materials in reducing pathogen density. These materials have the ability to eliminate or inactivate microbes, such as bacteria, fungi (including moulds) and viruses and works 24/7 to eliminate pathogens that cause infectious diseases without human intervention,” says Dr. Anukant Mittal, Professor & Head of Department, Rajiv Gandhi Medical College.

Copper is one of the most efficient metals that curbs the transmission of potentially menacing viral infections. Historically, Indians have been using copper vessels to store drinking water since centuries as it is an established fact that Copper offers antimicrobial properties. Similarly, in ancient Egypt, Copper was used to combat sore throat and infections, they note.

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