Diabetes drug improves survival in COVID-19 patients with type 2 diabetes, finds research

In a bid to develop treatment for COVID-19, a drug for type 2 diabetes is suggested to find use, says medical knowledge. Sitagliptin – a drug to lessen blood sugar in type 2 diabetes – is suggested to boost survival in diabetic patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, according to a multicenter observational study.

Clinically, patients who were administered sitagliptin along with insulin had 18 percent mortality rate, compared to 37 percent for diabetic patients who were administered only insulin. The study involved seven hospitals in Italy during the first occurrence of COVID-19 in the spring.

“It seems reasonable to administer sitagliptin if a patient with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 is admitted to the hospital,” says a diabetes researcher associated with the University of Milan. The findings are exciting, as there are very few therapeutic options for diabetic patients with COVID-19.

Sitagliptin to find use for nondiabetic too

Meanwhile, based on the action of sitagliptin, it could also work in nondiabetic patients with COVID-19, say the team of researchers.

For its pharmaceutical classification, sitagliptin is classified as a group of drugs known as DPP-4. It is estimated to be prescribed to 15 to 20 percent patients with type 2 diabetes. Approved by the FDA in 2006, the drug lowers blood sugar by obstructing the receptor for DPP-4 enzyme.

Recent studies recommend that DPP-4 may help with coronavirus to get into the respiratory cells. Besides blocking DPP-4, sitagliptin displays anti-inflammatory effects, thus reducing the production of cytokine IL-6. This compound is known to contribute to cytokine storm that can may cause organ secondary problems in COVID-19 patients.

Further, sitagliptin may have a third benefit: to keep blood sugar low.

Protein Discovery could help develop Effective Drug for Type 2 Diabetes

The discovery of how protein works in the liver could lead to a more effective drug for type 2 diabetes. The study led by the University of Melbourne found that SMOC1 protein – naturally produced by the liver – can reduce blood glucose levels. This points out an engineered form of the protein could potentially treat individuals with type 2 diabetes.

According to published data, type 2 diabetes affects more than one million adults in Australia and 400 million individuals globally, with this number rising fast. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes causes high levels of blood glucose, which could lead to nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, and kidney damage. Whilst current treatments for type 2 diabetes can be effective, it has limited tolerability and significant side effects.

To address this, the new class of SMOC1-based treatments could prove to be more effective for longer. The study finds that SMOC1 – a liver released glucose-responsive protein helped to improve blood sugar levels in animal samples with diabetes.

New Treatment pins hope to reduce risk of Chronic Diseases

“The increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes points at urgent need for new treatments to manage high blood glucose levels caused as a result,” said the lead author of the study.

“Any therapy that can lower blood glucose level in an effective manner can have an enormous impact on patients,” added the lead author of the study.

This is because it lowers the risk of developing chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, risk of amputation, and injury to blood vessels which leads to blindness.

For the study, the researchers developed a long-lasting form of SMOC1. The engineered protein lowered blood glucose levels in diabetic animal models. The existence of SMOC1 known, but its role in regulating blood glucose unknown, added the lead researcher.