Ursodeoxycholic Acid Cuts SARS-CoV-2 Infection, Severity

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Ursodeoxycholic acid exposure among participants with cirrhosis tied to reduced odds of developing SARS-CoV-2 infection

HealthDay News — Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is associated with a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity in patients with cirrhosis, according to a study published online April 5 in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Binu V. John, MD, MPH, from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues compared the association of UDCA exposure and SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as varying severities of COVID-19. The analysis included 1607 participants with cirrhosis who were taking UDCA and 1607 matched controls.

The researchers found that UDCA exposure was associated with reduced odds of developing SARS-CoV-2 infection (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.54). UDCA use was associated with reduced disease severity among patients who developed COVID-19, including symptomatic COVID-19 (aOR 0.54), at least moderate COVID-19 (aOR, 0.51), and severe or critical COVID-19 (aOR, 0.48).

“Our data shows that in a large national cohort of participants with cirrhosis, UDCA exposure is associated with a reduction in the development of SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as symptomatic, at least moderate, and severe/critical COVID-19,” the authors write. “Although our findings are hypothesis-generating and supplement data in experimental animal and human models, no recommendations on UDCA use in either the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 can be made in the absence of prospective randomized controlled trials.”

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