Can a tapeworm drug boost protection from COVID-19 for high-risk kidney patients?

If the charity and industry-funded trial is successful, it may pave the way for a new treatment to prevent or alleviate the impact of Covid-19 in people on dialysis, people who have had a kidney transplant, and people with auto-immune diseases affecting the kidneys such as vasculitis who require treatment to suppress their immune system. The treatment will last up to nine months.

Patients on the trial will receive either a placebo (or dummy) drug, or UNI911 (niclosamide) as a nasal spray, both provided by the manufacturer UNION therapeutics, in addition to all their usual treatments. The trial plans to expand to other UK healthcare centres and aims to recruit at least 1,500 kidney patients.

Niclosamide has shown real promise in the lab, with early tests showing it could stop SARS-CoV-2 multiplying and entering cells of the upper airways.

Niclosamide has been re-formulated into a nasal spray and participants will take one puff up each nostril twice a day.

The trial will identify whether niclosamide can protect people from the virus either on its own, or in combination with any of the vaccines currently available.

If successful, this trial could mean that the treatment becomes available to kidney patients more widely within months.

This is an abridged version of the press release which was first published on our website on February 22, 2021.

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