Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist Explains Why New Study in New England Journal of Medicine May Point To Nitric Oxide as Successful Treatment For COVID-19

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Cision PR Newswire has published the news from Louis Ignarro awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his breakthrough discoveries of nitric oxide (NO) and how NO positively impacts health and longevity. His discovery of this unique signaling molecule and all of its biological actions ranging from lowering your blood pressure to stimulating penile erection and sexual arousal is widely known as the information that led to the development of Viagra.

A recent study “Pulmonary Vascular Endothelialitis, Thrombosis, and Angiogenesis in COVID-19” by Ackermann compared the lungs of patients who died from COVID-19 with lungs of patients who died from influenza as well as healthy lungs donated for transplantation. These researchers discovered an unexpected disease pattern in COVID-19 lungs: The virus invades the cells that line blood vessels, called endothelial cells, and this was accompanied by blood clots.

Compared to the flu, COVID-19 lungs had 9-fold more blood clots and the blood vessels were injured by the virus, causing an unusual reaction of blood vessel growth.

Louis J. Ignarro, PhD, Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist and UCLA Distinguished Professor Emeritus, explains the significance the results of this study have on nitric oxide as treatment for COVID-19.

“Basically, this study shows that the coronavirus causes destruction of the capacity of blood vessels in the lungs to produce nitric oxide (NO). The virus destroys the vascular endothelial cells (the name for the cells that line blood vessels), which are the cells that produce NO. When NO is deficient, the result is increased blood clotting or thrombosis. The study reveals that the lungs from patients who died from COVID-19 are characterized by tiny blood clots in the lungs, which led to tissue inflammation, destruction, and pneumonia,” says Ignarro.

Warren Zapol, MD, emeritus Anesthetist-in-Chief at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Reginald Jenney Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School emphasizes Ignarro’s point, stating that “The endothelial cells of the lung are the primary generators of nitric oxide,” and that “Nitric oxide is a selective pulmonary vasodilator when you breathe it. It only dilates the lung, it doesn’t dilate the body.”

Dr. Zapol is responsible for inventing the treatment of inhaled nitric oxide for newborn babies that suffer from poor oxygen levels, leaving their skin blue. Each year, inhaled nitric oxide turns thousands of newborns from blue to pink (the healthy color).

Pankaj Arora, MD, Nitric Oxide Clinical Trial Lead Researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and Vibhu Parcha, MD, Fellow of Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, discuss the immense significance and positive implications of the study and nitric oxide. “Apart from having a potential antiviral effect, NO improves lung function by improving blood supply to the functional portions of the lung. Additionally, NO can reduce inflammation and prevent clotting within the blood vessels of the lung. Both increased inflammation and clotting in the blood vessels are a major contributor to the disease pathology, as highlighted from the current study.

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To read more on nitric oxid photorelease from cyclodextrin-based platforms see these posts in Cyclodextrin News:

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