On the Mend: The Search for COVID-19 Therapies Has Led to Familiar Places

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Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Defense Threat Reduction Agency

August 11, 2021 | Originally published by Defense THreat Reduction Agency on July 29, 2021

Something already in medicine cabinets around the world could help relieve COVID-19 symptoms in warfighters. Clinical evidence implicates high doses of famotidine—a common, over-the-counter antacid with the trade names Pepcid AC, Fluxid, and Act—could treat COVID-19 disease by attaching to Histamine-2 (H2) receptors on mast cells, blocking histamine release, and helping to subdue the self-amplifying and destructive aftermath seen in severe COVID-19.

Recent studies show that 50% to 80% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 do not progress to moderate or severe COVID-19 disease.1-3 Although COVID-19 disease requires SARS-CoV-2 infection, there are other factors needed to launch the full onset of disease symptoms. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Chemical and Biological Technologies Department in its role as the Joint Science and Technology Office (JSTO) for Chemical and Biological Defense under the Discovery of Medical Countermeasures Against New and Emerging (DOMANE) threats program made significant progress toward unraveling ways in which famotidine can help treat COVID-19 disease.

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