There is some news about drugs that could worsen the situation of patients with Covid-19. In mild cases of coronavirus, current protocols advise treating the symptoms without specific medication: for cough, taking antitussives. But, one of these cough suppressant drugs, dextromethorphan, could worsen the patient's situation according to a new study published in Nature.
The researchers would like to point out that this is only a small study in the in vitro laboratory, and therefore they are not advising against taking dextromethorphan under any circumstances.
Despite this reassuring message, this research would suggest that the cough medicine would stimulate the growth of SARS-CoV-2 in monkey cells studied in the laboratory because it would activate a defence process against cellular stress, a process that is also capable of using coronavirus to replicate.
The results of the experiment have not been replicated in either human cells or people, according to Brian Shoichet from the School of Pharmacy in the University of California, San Francisco. Also, in humans, dry cough drugs, in general, have not been shown to worsen viral infections in any case.
The point is that a potential 'pro-viral effect' has been detected, so it would be a mistake not to highlight it and bring it to the attention of the scientific community, as it could be harmful to patients' health.
For this work, Shoichet and an international team of researchers mapped the interactions between coronavirus proteins and the proteins that are in human cells and monkey cells. Lung cells are where most of the proteins involved in viral interactions are produced, which would make sense, as this is where the disease gets worse.