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COVID-19 virus infection can wreck havoc on your body when it infects the cells, but did you know what happens after you have recovered from the illness? it can leave some serious health conditions which may persist for months and years. And, when we talk about post-COVID health conditions, it doesn't limit to any age group. From infants to older adults, post-COVID health complications are real. According to the experts, a covid infected kid may develop one of the rare health illnesses called Multi-inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
In a recent study, scientists have identified a promising drug candidate for the treatment of a rare but severe, and potentially life-threatening condition in children infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19. Multi-inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) usually develops weeks to months after children have experienced a mild or even asymptomatic case of COVID-19. Some of the common symptoms of this condition are - high fever and a hyperinflammatory response that can affect multiple organs, including the heart, brain, and gastrointestinal organs.
According to the experts, in cases of MIS-C, the SARS-CoV-2 virus can remain in the gut for weeks to months after the infection. Therefore, when SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19 is present in the gut, and impaired mucosal barrier can allow small viral particles, such as the spike protein, to enter the bloodstream, leading to infections such as COVID-19 and in rare cases, the hyperinflammatory response that triggers MIS-C.
How does the virus bind with the cells? The SARS-CoV-2 virus uses the spike protein to enter and infect the cells. Explaining how this happens, David Walt, senior author of the study published in the journal Critical Care Explorations, said, "Working collaboratively, we have been able to demonstrate that viral particles that remain in the gut long after COVID-19 infection can instigate MIS-C." He further added, "Building on this important discovery, we wanted to see if treatment with a drug developed for another condition -- celiac disease -- could help resolve symptoms in children experiencing MIS-C."
In the study, the experts stated that the team administered the drug larazotide acetate to four extremely ill children ages 3 to 17 being treated for MIS-C. The experts said that they saw that larazotide decreases the release of zonulin, a molecule that can lead to increased gut permeability and an impaired mucosal barrier, a layer of thick mucus in the gut. In the study, the researchers compared the clinical outcomes of the four children who received larazotide plus steroids and intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) to 22 children who received only steroids and IVIG.
In the result, the expert saw that the children who received four daily oral doses of larazotide acetate had a significantly faster resolution of gastrointestinal symptoms and a slightly shorter hospital stay. The study also found that serum levels of the spike protein dropped much more quickly in children treated with larazotide, clearing from the blood within one day, versus 10 days for children not treated with the drug. "These findings suggest that larazotide may provide a safe and beneficial adjuvant therapy for the treatment of MIS-C," the researchers said. "Expansion of clinical trials is urgently needed to ascertain the clinical impact of larazotide on MIS-C," they added.
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