NAC in COVID: News and Highlights

USA Today - March 15, 2021

... Another trial is looking at NAC or N-acetylcysteine, used to treat acetaminophen overdoses and emphysema and theoretically could slow a viruses' ability to replicate and prevent blood clots in COVID-19 patients.

A community hospital outside Boston is running a clinical trial, based on early data suggesting the drug might be helpful. With only a small outside grant, principal investigator Dr. Melisa Lai-Becker, an emergency medicine specialist at Cambridge Health Alliance, is struggling to figure out how to structure the trial so it can compare the drug to a placebo.

She's intrigued by the possibilities of NAC, she said, because it's a very safe medication, used since the 1970s, doesn't require a prescription and costs just 7 cents a pill. "The payoff could be tremendous," she said – if it's proven to work. ...

The Boston Globe - January 15, 2021

... Dr. Melisa Lai-Becker at the Cambridge Health Alliance is also looking at a long-used medication, NAC or N-acetylcysteine, a drug approved in the 1970s that treats acetaminophen overdoses and prevents exacerbations of emphysema.

The idea came to her on a fitful night as the second surge bore down on the Boston area. “I woke up with a start,” she recalled. “All I could think was NAC, NAC.” The drug has been used to treat viral pneumonias, and there’s evidence it can moderate the immune-system overreaction that leads to severe COVID-19.

Acting on a hunch, Lai-Becker, who is site chief of emergency medicine at CHA Everett Hospital, gave NAC to about 200 COVID-19 patients in the emergency department. They seemed to tolerate it well, and many found their breathing eased.

Lai-Becker won approval from the Cambridge Health Alliance to conduct a clinical drug trial, a rare endeavor for a community hospital.. But they’re doing it without any funding, relying on the volunteer efforts of a team of physicians. They can’t even afford to use a placebo, which costs $5 to $10 per capsule, compared with seven to 10 cents for NAC capsules.

The study has enrolled 130 of the 200 patients sought (more information here: ...

Polonikov 2020 Glutathione Deficiency in Serious COVID-19 - ACS.pdf

MedCram video review:

Glutathione (GSH), N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and COVID-19

Coronavirus Pandemic Update 69: "NAC" Supplementation and COVID-19 (N-Acetylcysteine). May 11, 2020.