A study shows that people who are treated with antipsychotic drugs have a lower risk of contracting Covid-19 or, if they do, suffer it less.

Spanish researchers have verified the protective effect than antipsychotic drugs They can have Covid-19, both from the infection and from the tendency to suffer the most serious symptoms of the disease.

The study has been led by researchers from the Mental Health Unit of the Virgen del Rocío University Hospital in Seville, in collaboration with the Center for Biomedical Research in Mental Health Network (Cibersam), the Health Research Institute of Valdecilla (Santander), the Bioinformatics Unit of the Nucleus service of the University of Salamanca and the Superior Council of Scientific Investigations.

The studies have concluded that antipsychotic drugs could have a protective effect against SARS-CoV-2, after verifying that patients who are treated with these drugs have a lower risk of becoming infected or suffering from the disease in a milder way in case of infection.

A first epidemiological study was carried out on a sample of 698 patients undergoing treatment with this type of drug in the Sevillian hospital, according to the Center for Biomedical Research in Mental Health Network (Cibersam).

“They are very interesting findings that really reflect a clinical reality where we see few patients with severe Covid-19 disease, despite the presence of various risk factors”, Explained Manuel Canal Rivero, clinical psychologist at the Virgen del Rocío University Hospital and first signatory of one of the two works.

The doctor has specified – reports the CIBERSAM – that in this group of people the number of patients with Covid-19 is lower than expected, and in cases in which a proven infection has occurred evolution has been “benign” and without reaching a life-threatening clinical situation, data that reveal the protective effect of the medication.

In a complementary way, researchers have observed that many of the genes whose expression is altered by this disease are significantly downregulated by antipsychotic drugs, which are commonly used to treat illnesses with psychotic symptoms.

This finding has been achieved by investigating the gene expression profile (indicator of activated biological processes) of Wuhan Covid-19 patients and of patients undergoing treatment with an antipsychotic drug from the group of the Intervention Program in the Early Phases of Psychosis that began twenty years ago at the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital in Cantabria, Dr. Benedicto Crespo-Facorro, current director of the Health Unit Mental Hospital of the Virgen del Rocío University Hospital.

“In a striking way we have shown how antipsychotics reduce the activation of genes involved in many of the inflammatory and immunological pathways associated with the severity of the Covid-19 infection ”, has corroborated Professor Crespo-Facorro.

And he has highlighted that this discovery could have a great significance, since the treatment of Covid-19 with drugs that are originally indicated for different clinical situations, (what experts call the drug repositioning) “Has been shown to be an interesting source of effective treatments for this type of patient.