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Could arthritis drugs protect against COVID-19?

Some rheumatologists are reporting interesting findings among their patients who are already on two commonly prescribed medications for arthritis.
Some rheumatologists are reporting interesting findings among their patients who are already on two commonly prescribed medications for arthritis.

AVENTURA, Fla. – Some rheumatologists are reporting interesting findings among their patients who are already on two commonly prescribed medications for arthritis.

Dr. Norman Gaylis and others in his field have noticed that patients on one of two biologic infusion agents have a lower incidence of infection from COVID-19 or, if infected, were asymptomatic.

Gaylis said the drugs appear to block a particular protein released from cells that is elevated in patients with COVID but he said those findings are observational and not the result of a full clinical trial.

“There is definitely a possibility that some patients did benefit, it just wasn’t controlled and overseen in a fashion where you can say for sure there is a benefit from the drugs and that’s unfortunate with a lot of clinical research. Unless it’s controlled, the drug doesn’t get the recognition that it can still help some people, some times,” Gaylis said.

While he said the drugs should not be used prophylactically to prevent infection from the coronavirus, he said they could be considered for use in patients who are severely ill and have no other alternatives.

As this pandemic continues to spread, so do some myths surrounding COVID-19.

Among them, that rinsing the nose with a saline spray can protect against the virus, that parcels from China can spread the virus, and that if you get the vaccine against COVID-19 you can no longer infect others.

The CDC continues to advise that frequent hand washing, wearing a face covering in public and avoiding close contact with anyone who seems to be ill are some of the best ways to protect yourself from the virus.


About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.