Exploring Repurposed Therapeutics to Treat COVID-19: Jennifer Frontera, MD


The professor of neurology at NYU Langone Grossman School of Medicine discussed what high-potential repurposed medications could be an option to treat symptoms of COVID-19 and the realistic possibility of clinical trials. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

"One of the major points of recovery is to identify different areas that would be promising for clinical trials. Mechanistically right now, we don’t even understand the mechanisms or sub-phenotypes. You have to know that IL-6 is driving long-COVID to study an IL-6 inhibitor. Otherwise, there’s not as much [of a] point. I would gather data before you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a clinical trial."

One of the main topics of conversation at this year’s American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 2-7, in Seattle, Washington, was the effects of COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic. Jennifer Frontera, MD, a leader of neurology-related COVID research, gave a talk on the neurological sequalae and follow-up of hospitalized and nonhospitalized patients with COVID-19. She referenced a recent study she conducted, in which 87% (197 of 227) of hospitalized patients who completed all batteries developed at least 1 functional abnormality at 12-month follow-up.

Although the introduction of vaccines has certainly helped lower the rate of hospitalization for these patients, clinicians like Frontera are still thinking of ways to improve the post-acute symptoms. Frontera, a professor of neurology at the NYU Langone Grossman School of Medicine, believes it is time to explore more logistic repurposed medications to treat COVID-19, citing off-brand benefits of medications, such as nortriptyline, to treat associated headaches.

At AAN 2022, Frontera was asked about the most relevant research needed in terms of post-acute sequalae of COVID-19 at this stage in the pandemic. She broke down the idea behind exploring these interventions, the realistic possibilities of clinical trials, and how they would be conducted. She also stressed the need to identify mechanisms of action that show high potential before spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund.

Click here for more coverage of AAN 2022.

1. Frontera JA, Yang D, Medicherla C, et al. Trajectories of neurologic recovery 12 months after hospitalization for COVID-19: a prospective longitudinal study. Neurology. Published online March 21, 2022. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000200356
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