Therapeutic potential of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) in preventing cytokine storm in COVID-19: review of current evidence.
European review for medical and pharmacological sciences. 2021;(6):2802-2807
Since November 2019, SARS Coronavirus 2 disease (COVID-19) pandemic has spread through more than 195 nations worldwide. Though the coronavirus infection affects all age and sex groups, the mortality is skewed towards the elderly population and the cause of death is mostly acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). There are data suggesting the role of excessive immune activation and cytokine storm as the cause of lung injury in COVID-19. The excessive immune activation and cytokine storm usually occurs due to an imbalance in redox homeostasis of the individuals. Considering the antioxidant and free radical scavenging action of N acetyl cysteine (NAC), its use might be useful in COVID-19 patients by decreasing the cytokine storm consequently decreasing the disease severity. Therefore, we reviewed all the available resources pertaining to the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cytokine storm and the mechanism of action of NAC in preventing ROS. We also reviewed the use of NAC in COVID-19.
N-Acetylcysteine and Hydrogen Sulfide in Coronavirus Disease 2019.
Antioxidants & redox signaling. 2021;(14):1207-1225
Significance: Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is one of the three main gasotransmitters that are endogenously produced in humans and are protective against oxidative stress. Recent findings from studies focusing on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), shifted our attention to a potentially modulatory role of H2S in this viral respiratory disease. Recent Advances: H2S levels at hospital admission may be of importance since this gasotransmitter has been shown to be protective against lung damage through its antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory actions. Furthermore, many COVID-19 cases have been described demonstrating remarkable clinical improvement upon administration of high doses of N-acetylcysteine (NAC). NAC is a renowned pharmacological antioxidant substance acting as a source of cysteine, thereby promoting endogenous glutathione (GSH) biosynthesis as well as generation of sulfane sulfur species when desulfurated to H2S. Critical Issues: Combining H2S physiology and currently available knowledge of COVID-19, H2S is hypothesized to target three main vulnerabilities of SARS-CoV-2: (i) cell entry through interfering with functional host receptors, (ii) viral replication through acting on RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), and (iii) the escalation of inflammation to a potentially lethal hyperinflammatory cytokine storm (toll-like receptor 4 [TLR4] pathway and NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 [NLRP3] inflammasome). Future Directions: Dissecting the breakdown of NAC reveals the possibility of increasing endogenous H2S levels, which may provide a convenient rationale for the application of H2S-targeted therapeutics. Further randomized-controlled trials are warranted to investigate its definitive role.
Perspectives for the Use of N-acetylcysteine as a Candidate Drug to Treat COVID-19.
Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry. 2021;(3):268-272
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndromerelated coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become an ongoing pandemic worldwide. However, there are no vaccines or antiviral drugs with proven clinical efficacy. Therefore, a remedial measure is urgently needed to combat the devastating COVID-19. The pharmacological activities of Nacetylcysteine (NAC) and its potential functions in inhibiting the progression of COVID-19 make it a promising therapeutic agent for the infection. In this mini-review, we discussed the therapeutic potential of NAC in COVID-19 from the perspective of its multisite pharmacological actions.
The efficacy of N-Acetylcysteine in severe COVID-19 patients: A structured summary of a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.
OBJECTIVES Severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus may cause lung failure and the need for mechanical ventilation. Infection with SARS-COV-2 can lead to activation of inflammatory factors, increased reactive oxygen species, and cell damage. In addition to mucolytic effects, N-Acetylcysteine has antioxidant effects that we believe can help patients recover. In this study, we evaluate the efficacy of N-Acetylcysteine in patients with severe COVID-19. TRIAL DESIGN This is a prospective, randomized, single-blinded, phase 3 controlled clinical trial with two arms (ratio 1:1) parallel-group design of 40 patients, using the placebo in the control group. PARTICIPANTS All severe COVID-19 patients with at least one of the following five conditions: (respiration rate > 30 per minute), hypoxemia (O2 ≤ saturation, arterial oxygen partial pressure ratio <300), pulmonary infiltration (> 50% of lung area during 24 48 h), Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) > 245 U / l, Progressive lymphopenia, and admitted to the intensive care unit of Shahid Mohammadi Hospital in Bandar Abbas and have positive PCR test results for SARS-Cov-2 and sign the written consent of the study will be included. Patients will be excluded from the study if they have a history of hypersensitivity to N-Acetylcysteine, pregnancy, or refuse to participate in the study. INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR After randomization, participants in the intervention group receive standard of care (SOC) according to the National Committee of COVID-19 plus N-acetylcysteine (EXI-NACE 200mg/mL, in 10mL ampules of saline for parenteral injection (EXIR pharmaceutical company)) at a dose of 300 mg/kg equivalent to 20 gr as a slow single intravenous injection on the first day of hospitalization. In the control group patients receive SOC and placebo ( Sterile water for injection as the same dose). The placebo is identical in appearance to the N-acetylcysteine injection (EXIR pharmaceutical company as well). MAIN OUTCOMES The primary endpoint for this study is a composite endpoint for the length of hospitalization in the intensive care unit and the patient's clinical condition. These outcomes were measured at the baseline (before the intervention) and on the 14th day after the intervention or on the discharge day. RANDOMISATION Eligible participants (40) will be randomized in two arms in the ratio of 1: 1 (20 per arm) using online web-based tools and by permuted block randomization method. To ensure randomization concealment, random sequence codes are assigned to patients by the treatment team at the time of admission without knowing that each code is in the intervention or comparator group. BLINDING (MASKING): All participants will be informed about participating in the study and the possible side effects of medication and placebo. Patients participating in the study will not be aware of the assignment to the intervention or control group. The principal investigator, health care personnel, data collectors, and those evaluating the outcome are aware of patient grouping. NUMBERS TO BE RANDOMISED (SAMPLE SIZE): A total of 40 patients participate in this study, which are randomly divided; 20 patients in the intervention group will receive SOC and N-acetylcysteine, 20 patients in the control group will receive SOC and placebo. TRIAL STATUS First version of the protocol was approved by the Deputy of Research and Technology and the ethics committee of Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences on February 14, 2021, with the local code 990573, and the recruitment started on March 2, 2021 and the expected recruitment end date is April 1, 2021. TRIAL REGISTRATION The protocol was registered before starting participant recruitment entitled: Evaluation of the efficacy of N-Acetylcysteine in severe COVID-19 patients: a randomized controlled phase III clinical trial, IRCT20200509047364N3 , at Iranian Registry of clinical trials on 20 February 2021. FULL PROTOCOL The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol. The study protocol has been reported in accordance with the Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Clinical Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) guidelines (Additional file 2).
Rationale for the use of N-acetylcysteine in both prevention and adjuvant therapy of COVID-19.
FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 2020;(10):13185-13193
COVID-19 may cause pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, cardiovascular alterations, and multiple organ failure, which have been ascribed to a cytokine storm, a systemic inflammatory response, and an attack by the immune system. Moreover, an oxidative stress imbalance has been demonstrated to occur in COVID-19 patients. N- Acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) is a precursor of reduced glutathione (GSH). Due to its tolerability, this pleiotropic drug has been proposed not only as a mucolytic agent, but also as a preventive/therapeutic agent in a variety of disorders involving GSH depletion and oxidative stress. At very high doses, NAC is also used as an antidote against paracetamol intoxication. Thiols block the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 thereby hampering penetration of SARS-CoV-2 into cells. Based on a broad range of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms, which are herein reviewed, the oral administration of NAC is likely to attenuate the risk of developing COVID-19, as it was previously demonstrated for influenza and influenza-like illnesses. Moreover, high-dose intravenous NAC may be expected to play an adjuvant role in the treatment of severe COVID-19 cases and in the control of its lethal complications, also including pulmonary and cardiovascular adverse events.