Encouraging trial results for long Covid fatigue treatment


Researchers from the University of Oxford have reported findings from a Phase II clinical trial investigating the efficacy of an investigational treatment against long Covid fatigue.

The study found that participants given the treatment, AXA1125, developed by US pharmaceutical company Axcella Therapeutics, felt less fatigued than those given a placebo.

Emerging data on long Covid suggests that the virus targets the mitochondrial, which are essential to normal energy generation and control of inflammation. AXA1125, which had previously shown effects on cellular energetics and inflammation, may improve energy generation and reduce the amount of inflammation in the body.

Clinical trial details

On average, patients had symptoms of fatigue for about 18 months prior to entering the study. All the patients who started the study completed it, and none reported serious adverse effects of either the treatment or the placebo.

The research team also tracked mitochondrial health in the patients’ muscles before and after they took the medication using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Although there was no overall difference in mitochondrial health, those in the treatment arm did report significantly improved fatigue levels. Those who reported an improvement in fatigue also had improved mitochondrial health and walked further compared to those without.

Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Betty Raman from the Radcliffe Department of Medicine at Oxford University, said: “The reduction in patients’ own reports of fatigue is really positive news, and we hope that further work will help us understand the underlying processes behind this improvement too.

“There is still some way to go in treating all patients with long Covid – our results focus specifically on fatigue, rather than the breathlessness and cardiovascular issues that other long Covid patients have reported.”

Ongoing research

The research team also hope that future studies will determine if the treatment is effective for an even larger group of long Covid patients.

Study author Margaret Koziel MD, Axcella Chief Medical Officer, said: “We are encouraged by these results, and hope that a treatment for people who suffer from long Covid fatigue may be in sight. Our approach allows us to target several pathways that are disrupted in long Covid, and our previous experience with AXA1125 suggests that is both easy to take and well tolerated in clinical studies.”

Up to 10% of Covid-19 cases are thought to be subsequently suffering from long Covid, but there is as yet no approved treatment for the condition.

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