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Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

Oral formula developed to ease long Covid symptoms

Oral formula developed to ease long Covid symptoms

An oral microbiome formula developed by Chinese University's medical school can relieve long Covid symptoms, including tiredness, gastrointestinal discomfort and memory loss, researchers say.
Francis Chan Ka-leung, dean of medicine and director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research at CUHK, said the formula does not have to be prescribed by doctors and can be sold in the market.

The university has also submitted the results to the Hospital Authority so that the formula can be used in both public and private health-care sectors.

About 70 percent of patients in Hong Kong who have recovered from Covid continue to suffer from at least one long Covid symptom for six months, the university said.

Martin Wong Chi-sang, of CU Medicine's Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, said: "Long Covid affects different organs and can be debilitating, yet there is no effective treatment. There is an urgent need for clinically proven intervention to improve the physical and psychological impact of long Covid.

"Doctors could prescribe painkillers to treat headache and muscle pain, but there are few drugs that can ease patients' tiredness and poor concentration."

With the help of big data and machine-learning technologies, the researchers have developed an oral formula called SIM01 to relieve long Covid symptoms across multiple organs.

The university recruited 463 recovered patients who were suffering from long Covid symptoms over the past two years, with a median age of 49, and 70 percent of them contracted the Omicron variant last year.

All were randomly assigned to receive the SIM01 formula or a placebo containing low-dose Vitamin C for six months.

Researchers found more patients receiving the formula showed improvement in digestive problems, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, memory loss and general unwellness during six months of follow-up.

Ng Siew-chien from the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, said this is the first clinical trial to show that modulation of the gut microbiome can improve long Covid symptoms.

"Restoring a healthy gut microbiota is a novel approach to improve neurological symptoms via the production of beneficial metabolites from gut bacteria that circulate to the brain to improve brain function," she said.

The university said the research was fully sponsored by the Health Bureau.

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