Repurposing an SSRI to treat COVID-19: Does Fluvoxamine hold promise?

March 11, 2021

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 lockdown in the United States. Vaccines are now being rolled out to treat this deadly illness, but there continues to be a lot of research about medicines to treat those with COVID-19. 

On March 7, “60 Minutes” featured a report on how Fluvoxamine, a drug that has been around for 40 years, could be repurposed to treat COVID-19.  Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that has been used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It is now being tested in both the U.S. and Canada to see if it is effective in preventing severe lung damage in those with COVID-19. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is leading the trial with its clinical trial, Fluvoxamine for Early Treatment of Covid-19 (Stop Covid 2).

We explored ResoluteAI’s Foundation to find research being conducted on Fluvoxamine and COVID-19. Foundation is automatically linked to ClinicalTrials.gov,  and there are currently 13 clinical trials on Fluvoxamine as it relates to COVID-19. This chart shows which countries are conducting clinical trials and where. The U.S. has five trials in progress. Other countries working on clinical trials include South Korea, Hungary, Spain, Israel, Brazil, and France.

Where are clinical trials on Fluvoxamine and COVID-19 being conducted?countries where clinical trials on fluvoxamine and covid-19 are being conducted

This is not the first time researchers have explored how Fluvoxamine could be repurposed to treat an illness. PubMed on Foundation indicates that there have also been articles on how the drug could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Those studies are Repurposing psychiatric medicines to target activated microglia in anxious mild cognitive impairment and early Parkinson's disease published in 2014 by Edward C. Lauterbach and Interactions of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors with β-Amyloid published in 2018 by Gary Tin, Tarek Mohamed, Arash Shakeri, Amy Trinh Pham, and Praveen P N Rao.

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Lesley Pink

Lesley Pink, our senior digital editor/writer, has written across a range of industries including artificial intelligence, actuarial science, government, law, and financial journalism. She's a fan of the serial comma and mint chocolate chip ice cream. And no, pink is not her favorite color. You can reach Lesley at lesley@resolute.ai.