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Celebrex adjuvant therapy on COVID-19: An experimental study

By Wenxin Hong, Gang Chen, Kai You, Shenglin Tan, Feima Wu, Jiawang Tao, Xudan Chen, Jiaye Zhang, Yue Xiong, Fang Yuan, Zhen Yang, Tingting Chen, Xinwen Chen, Ping Peng, Qiang Tai, Jian Wang, Fuchun Zhang, Yinxiong Li

Posted 11 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.05.20077610

Background: The world is under serious threat with the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, there is no effective drug for the treatment of COVID-19. Based on analyses of available data, we deduced that the excessive prostaglandins E2 (PGE2) accumulation mediated by cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) was the key pathological basis of COVID-19. Methods: The urine PGE2 levels were measured by mass spectrometry. An experimental study about Celebrex to treat COVID-19 was conducted based on routine treatment. A total of 44 confirmed COVID-19 patients were enrolled (Experimental group n=37, Control group n=7). Patients in experimental group were given Celebrex once or twice a day (0.2 g/time) for 7-14 days. The dosage or duration was modified for individuals. Clinical outcomes of Celebrex adjuvant therapy were evaluated by vital signs, laboratory tests, and computed tomography upon the discontinuance of Celebrex. Results: We found that the concentrations of PGE2 in urine samples of COVID-19 patients were significantly higher than that of healthy individuals (mean value is 170 ng/ml vs 18.8 ng/ml, p<0.01) and positively correlated with the progression of COVID-19. Among the experimental group (ordinary n=29, severe n=7, critical n=1), 25 cases were treated with full dose and 11 cases with half dose of Celebrex, and 1 case with Ibuprofen. The remission rate were 100%, 82% and 57% in full dose, half dose and control group respectively. Celebrex significantly reduced the PGE2 levels and promoted recovery of ordinary or severe COVID-19. Conclusion: Our study suggests that Celebrex adjuvant treatment may be helpful for the therapy of COVID-19.

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