This is demonstrated by the results of a clinical study that evaluated the integration of L-arginine to standard therapy: the administration significantly improved the course of the disease, reducing both the need for respiratory support and the length of hospital stay.
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In the fight against the Covid pandemic, treating the infection remains a critical challenge. Unlike approved vaccines, for which development has been hugely successful, few drugs have been shown to be truly effective, reducing disease complications and mortality in patients requiring hospitalization.
A new clinical study, coordinated by prof. Bruno Trimarco, emeritus of Cardiology at the Federico II University of Naples, with the Albert Einstein University of New York, however, provided a very specific therapeutic indication, showing that L-arginine, an amino acid naturally present in proteins and widely used as a dietary supplement, is able to significantly reduce both the need for respiratory support by patients with severe forms of Covid-19, and the length of hospitalization, when administered in addition standard hospital treatment.
The study, conducted at the Domenico Cotugno Hospital in Naples, evaluated the efficacy and safety of L-arginine in adults (aged 18 or over) hospitalized with severe Covid-19, demonstrating – in the first interim analysis on 101 patients published in the journal Clinical Medicine from The Lancet – that the treatment is associated with the reduction of respiratory support 10 days after administration.
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In particular, patients treated with L-arginine in addition to hospital therapy were 6.6 times more likely to require less intense respiratory assistance compared to patients who received standard care alone. This result was corroborated by the almost halving of the length of hospital stay which, in patients treated with L-arginine + standard therapy, was on average 25 days compared with 46 of the patients who received standard treatment alone.
The data, although preliminary and relating to a still small number of patients, suggest that the administration of L-arginine (1.66 g per day) orally, in addition to standard therapy in hospitalized patients with Covid it can significantly improve the course of the disease. “Our results – specify the authors of the study – could have important clinical implications for the treatment of Covid-19, especially in a low-resource setting given the safety and affordability of oral L-arginine”.