Health Beat: Fighting sepsis using old drugs new ways – 69News WFMZ-TV

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Updated: April 5, 2022 @ 3:03 am

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Each year, at least 1.7 million Americans develop sepsis. According to the CDC, 270,000 will die as a result. Sepsis is caused by bacterial infections but, it can also be caused by viral infections like COVID-19. Now, there’s new hope that two already approved drugs can help save lives.
Fever, chills, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and confusion are all symptoms of sepsis.
“Sepsis is one of the most dangerous syndromes known in medicine,” UC San Diego School of Medicine professor, Dr. Victor Nizet, mentioned.
In fact, one in three patients who die in a hospital also have sepsis.
“It is an uncontrolled inflammatory response to a severe bacterial infection that is spreading through your body,” Dr. Nizet further explained.
Usually treated with antibiotics, there’s no single approved drug specifically targeting sepsis but, researchers at UC San Diego have found two different drugs, already FDA approved, that may help the patient’s own body fight staph sepsis—not by using antibiotics, but by maintaining a patient’s platelet count.
Dr. Nizet said, “Platelets in the blood were able to kill staph better than the white blood cells.”
The two repurposed drugs used to maintain platelets are Brilinta, a blood thinner commonly prescribed to prevent heart attack recurrence, and Tamiflu, used to treat the flu.
Sixty percent of mice treated with both drugs survived 10 days following infection, compared to 20 percent of untreated mice. Now, researchers hope these same results will transfer to people.
“We are looking for new ideas in which we try to assist in the clearance of infection by boosting the immune system,” Dr. Nizet added.
Sepsis is one of the costliest of all diseases, recently totaling more than $24 billion in hospital expenses, or 13 percent of total U.S. hospital costs.
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