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A diabetes drug can combat some of the more severe COVID-19 symptoms in women

Published Jun 24th, 2020 3:42PM EDT
Coronavirus Drug
Image: Top Photo Corporation/Shutterstock

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  • A diabetes drug called Metformin was found to reduce the fatality rate of women with the coronavirus by as much as 24%.
  • The drug did not appear to have an impact on men with the coronavirus.
  • The coronavirus pandemic may persist for as long as two years without an effective vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said a vaccine may arrive by late 2020 at the earliest.

Appearing before Congress yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci testified that, in his view, there’s a possibility researchers will develop a coronavirus vaccine before the end of the year. Barring that, Fauci said that he’s cautiously optimistic an effective vaccine will emerge by early next year.

Fauci’s opinion in this regard isn’t new and has been something he’s articulated consistently over the past few weeks. Incidentally, a number of high profile vaccine candidates are slated to begin advanced trials in the coming weeks. What’s more, Army scientists — who routinely work with large biotech firms to combat particularly deadly diseases — have been working on a vaccine capable of combating all strains of the coronavirus. Human testing on the Army’s vaccine is set to begin this summer.

While a vaccine is likely the only way to truly get a handle on the coronavirus, there have been some promising strides made with respect to drugs capable of lessening some of the more severe symptoms associated with the virus. To this point, researchers at the University of Minnesota recently discovered that the drug Metformin — which is used to treat Type 2 Diabetes — can significantly reduce the fatality rate for women who test positive for COVID-19.

The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, found that COVID-19 positive women on Metformin were 21 to 24% less likely to die from the coronavirus than COVID-19 positive women who didn’t take the drug. Incidentally, the drug does not appear to have an impact on the ability of men to withstand some of the coronavirus’s more severe symptoms.

Reuters reports:

Women taking the widely used oral diabetes medication metformin may be at lower risk for fatal COVID-19, according to a study posted on Saturday that has not yet been peer-reviewed. Among more than 6,200 adults with diabetes or obesity and commercial insurance who were hospitalized with COVID-19, there were fewer deaths among women who had filled their 90-day metformin prescriptions than among those not taking the medicine.

Now does this mean COVID-19 patients should seek out the drug? Absolutely not. It’s important to note that the patients involved in the study were already suffering from diabetes. This, of course, isn’t much of a surprise as individuals with diabetes are more likely to exhibit severe coronavirus symptoms. All that said, there’s been no indication that the drug would be a net-positive for COVID-19 patients who don’t have diabetes.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.