Diabetes drug may treat lung inflammation

Blood sugar-lowering drug Metformin can prevent pulmonary or lung inflammation, a major factor in Covid-19 severity and mortality, researchers have found in studies of mice infected by the coronavirus.

Metformin is often used as an early therapy for Type-2 diabetes. It works by lowering glucose production in the liver. But scientists have also noted that Metformin possesses anti-inflammatory properties.

The researchers focussed on a mouse model of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life – threatening condition for Covid patients in which fluids leak into lungs, making breathing difficult.

The findings in immunity showed that Metformin administered to mice prior to or after exposure to bacterial endotoxin, a surrogate for bacterial pneumonia, resulted in the inhibition of ARDS onset and lessening of its symptoms.

Metformin also produced a marked reduction in mortality in endotoxin-challenged mice and inhibited IL-1beta production and inflammasome assembly within alveolar macrophages – immune cells found in the lungs.

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