Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, researchers and scientists worldwide are looking for the treatment for the SARS-CoV-2 virus day and night. And, researchers at Uppsala University are no exception to the rule.

Nitric Oxide - A Promising Antiviral Treatment,
Nitric Oxide - A Promising Antiviral Treatment, Study Shows Unsplash

After conducting an in vitro study, researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden found that nitric oxide may help suppress SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Researchers said that inhaling nitric oxide may be a way of treating the disease.

Nitric oxide explained

Nitric oxide is a compound produced naturally by and found in the body that helps widen blood vessels and stimulates the release of certain hormones, such as insulin and human growth hormone.

Nitric oxide acts as a messenger molecule in the body and transmits signals to cells found in the cardiovascular, nervous, and immune systems. Unlike other molecules in the body, the nitric oxide molecule possesses a free-radical, which makes it more reactive than other signaling molecules. What's more, since it has a very small size, the molecule is able to diffuse through cell membranes and walls and perform a range of signaling functions in various systems in the body.

But, most importantly, the nitic oxide molecule has anti-inflammatory properties and antiviral effects.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, in severe cases, leads to inflammation in patients, throughout the body, including in the lungs, heart, and brain. So, could nitric oxide be the effective treatment for COVID-19 expected by the entire world?

Nitric oxide-a possible treatment for COVID-19?

This isn't the first study around nitric oxide. Previous studies have also shown that it is an effective treatment against the herpes virus, coxsackievirus, and hantavirus.

A 2005 in vitro study already found that the molecule can help inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV virus in the body, a virus that is very similar to SARS-CoV-2 and has caused a global epidemic back in 2003. What's more, another small clinical study also suggests that inhaling nitric oxide at low concentrations can work as a vasodilator for patients infected with SARS viruses, which leads to the improvement of oxygenation of their blood. But the study also concluded that nitric oxide could work as an antiviral agent in the body. So, it would be great if we could all start to inhale low amounts of nitric oxide using vapes, such as those from Vaporsolo, if doctors tell us that it is a good way to protect us from COVID-19.

Now, this new study, published in the journal Redox Biology, provides promising evidence that nitric oxide can help inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2, according to scientists at Uppsala University in Sweden.

What did the study involve?

The researchers used monkey cells' cultures, which they infected with SARS-Cov-2, and then treated with a chemical that generates nitric oxide. In contrast, they also treated other infected cells with another almost identical chemical, but that doesn't produce nitric oxide. The result? The chemical that produces nitric oxide, called SNAP, significantly reduced the amount of viral RNA produced by the infected cells with SARS-CoV-2.