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Researchers at the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, have begun a new clinical study to treat COVID-19 using ketamine.

Ketamine for COVID is an authentic reality. Health practitioners have used ketamine in psychedelic therapy, and even in treatment against alcoholism. But could it help exterminate 2020’s pandemic? Some researchers in Michigan are investigating this possibility.

The scientists involved in this new and groundbreaking clinical study are using ketamine, along with naltrexone. They have called the research SINK COVID-19, an acronym for the ‘study of immunomodulation using naltrexone and ketamine’ for COVID-19.

People addicted to alcohol or opioids can use naltrexone as a medication. It helps manage their symptoms and dependence. Brand names under which the medication is sold include Revia and Vivitrol. Doctors prescribe it for use following detoxification. Recovering addicts do not receive prescriptions for naltrexone unless they have undergone detoxification.

Ketamine is a powerful sedative used primarily for starting and maintaining anesthesia. The medication induces a trance-like state while providing pain relief. It also sedates and can cause memory loss. In recent years, people have used ketamine recreationally and in the party scene.

Ketamine as Immunomodulator

Dr. Matthew Sims, Director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont Health and the study’s principal investigator, explained in further depth the underlining procedures and intent of the study in an interview for Beaumont Hospital’s website:

“The addition of these two medications as immunomodulators to the treatment regimen of patients with COVID-19 has the potential to decrease the severity of this disease by reducing the autoimmune, hyper-inflammatory stages of the virus, which are destructive to normal tissue and, when unchecked, rapidly lead to death.”

According to Ketamine News, Dr. Sims and his co-researchers hope to recruit 500 volunteers for the study from Beaumont in Royal Oak. He said it’s unclear when they’ll be able to get enough participants, especially since COVID-19 cases are declining in metro Detroit. However, Sims said they’ll be able to do an interim analysis once they have results from 75 patients.

Decreasing the Inflammation

Dr. Annas Aljassem, a co-investigator on the study explained for Beaumont Hospital’s website that the researchers needed a two-pronged strategy to combat COVID-19. “Low doses of naltrexone, a drug approved for treating alcoholism and opiate addiction, as well as ketamine, a drug approved as an anesthetic, may be able to interrupt the inflammation that causes the worst COVID-19 symptoms,” Aljassem said.

Low-doses of naltrexone have been used for the treatment of pain and inflammation in many ailments in the past. For example: multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and other pain conditions. Ketamine, an anesthetic drug, shows anti-inflammatory effects at multiple early steps in the inflammatory process.

Sims explained that the innovative study is twofold. “It’s looking at whether naltrexone can prevent progression to the worst forms of COVID, and whether ketamine can rescue people who have gotten worse,” Sims said for Ketamine News.

According to Beaumont Hosptial, the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Investigational New Drug program granted Beaumont researchers permission to start this clinical study. The researchers are hopeful that the study will show the two drugs enabling a decrease in the severity of COVID-19 symptoms by reducing the early and later side effects of the virus.

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