Preventing symptom escalation among mild COVID-19 patients

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 63, No. 5, June 2021, Page 203 News COVID-19

With several treatments available to care for the most urgent and severe cases of COVID-19, researchers are now investigating whether a common anti-inflammatory drug, ciclesonide, could help speed recovery in mild cases and put a stop to disease progression and potential hospitalization. When inhaled, the medication is directed to the nose and airways, the areas of the body most affected by the COVID-19 virus. While the long-term effects of the virus are not fully understood, studies have found that any level of disease severity can result in persistent physical and psychological symptoms. Ciclesonide has been shown to prevent viral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in some lab-based studies, and researchers hypothesize that giving it to patients early in the course of the disease could prevent the virus from replicating further and causing an increased inflammatory response.

Ciclesonide was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in January 2008 for use in humans to treat asthma, rhinitis, and other nasal and airway conditions. The CONTAIN study team selected ciclesonide as a possible treatment option because of its low rate of side effects and drug interactions, as well as evidence linking this particular steroid with antiviral effects.

Dr Sara Belga, a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of British Columbia, is the principal investigator in the province of the CONTAIN study, headed by Dr Nicole Ezer from the McGill University Centre for Health Outcomes Research. The study is recruiting individuals living in Quebec, Ontario, or British Columbia. Adults 18 years and older can qualify to participate if they apply via the CONTAIN study’s online portal within 5 days of being diagnosed with COVID-19. Eligible participants must also be recovering at home with a mild fever, shortness of breath, and/or symptomatic cough. Visit for more information about the study and how to participate.

. Preventing symptom escalation among mild COVID-19 patients. BCMJ, Vol. 63, No. 5, June, 2021, Page(s) 203 - News, COVID-19.

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