While Covid-19 continues to make headlines as variants hit the UK, a new study, published in The Lancet, has shown that a commonly used pill may reduce the risk of Long Covid.
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Long Covid refers to symptoms that drag on or resurface in someone who should have recovered from the virus.Recently, there has been a very unusual symptom that shows up in those with this condition: blue legs. But the more common issues people face include fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of smell and muscle ache, according to the NHS.
Because sufferers deal with a selection of these symptoms over a long period of time, they can also develop into depression and anxiety. So, as Cosmopolitan commented, this new discovery could be very good news.
What is this medication?
Firstly, what is it? It’s called Metformin, and the NHS states that it is used to treat type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Dr Naheed Ali MD, PhD, explained that this medication’s effectiveness in treating diabetes has been widely recognised for years, but that its ‘potential benefits in mitigating the risk of Long Covid is undeniably fascinating’.
Now, you might be asking how many people really struggle with Long Covid?Well, it turns out 10% of individuals diagnosed with Covid-19 do suffer from persistent symptoms.
The medication’s effect on Long Covid
The study was carried out with over 1000 participants, ranging from 30 to 85 in age, most of whom were overweight or obese. Dr Ali explains the surprising results:
The data suggests that those who were administered Metformin within the first four days of symptom onset witnessed a significant 63% reduction in their risk of developing Long Covid.
Even when the drug was introduced after this window, there was still a ‘42% decrease in risk’. As The Lancet notes, the drug's ability ‘to reduce the risk of long COVID was consistent across subgroups’. So, how does it work?
Well, the drug is used to treat diabetes because of its benefits in glucose regulation. This also comes into play with Long Covid, along with Metformin’s ‘antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-thrombotic properties’.
Could this medication cure Long Covid?
Dr Ali explains that the study relied on participants reporting their own symptoms, so there is always an element of uncertainty there. He suggests further studies would have to be done to determine whether this medication could indeed be the short answer to Long Covid.
Cosmopolitan: New research finds this common medication may reduce the risk of long Covid
The Lancet: Infectious Diseases