Reversing COVID-19 associated ARDS and cytokine storm with N-acetylglucosamine

Tech ID: 32055 / UC Case 2020-644-0

Brief Description

The rapid emergence and spread of a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has caused a global pandemic. Excessive inflammation leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the primary driver of mortality in severe COVID-19 cases, and is yet to be addressed by current therapeutics. Researchers at UCI and Mt. Sinai Hospital have therefore developed an anti-inflammatory treatment using N-acetylglucosamine to lower the mortality and need for ventilators in critically ill COVID-19 patients.

Suggested uses

·Lower severe inflammation leading to ARDS in COVID-19 patients

·Reduce mortality and long-term ventilator use in critical COVID-19 cases


·Broad use: Treatment effective in severe COVID-19 cases, not just mild/moderate cases as with remdesivir

·Effective: Reduction of COVID-19 patient mortality and time on ventilators

·Safety: N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) is safe as determined by the researcher’s prior Phase I clinical trial

·Natural: GlcNAc is a natural anti-inflammatory nutraceutical

Full Description

The rapid emergence and spread of a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has caused a global pandemic and the death of thousands. While some COVID-19 patients present with mild symptoms, those that develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are at higher risk of long-term ventilator use (crowding hospitals) and/or death. Current studies of COVID-19 disease pathology point to rapid, severe inflammation as the main cause of ARDS. Many COVID-19 clinical trials are investigating drugs targeting viral replication (e.g., remdesivir). Unfortunately, these interventions do not directly target inflammation and are therefore unlikely to be effective for treating severe disease. Therefore, there is an urgent need for treatments that directly reverse the immunopathology of critical COVID-19 cases.

To address this need, researchers at UCI and Mt. Sinai Hospital have developed a novel anti-inflammatory COVID-19 treatment using N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc). A well-known nutraceutical, GlcNAc inhibits pro-inflammatory T and B cell functions in both mice and humans. Previous clinical trial data obtained by these researchers demonstrated that GlcNAc is safe and well tolerated in patients at several doses. Data from this trial also demonstrated that administering GlcNAc lowers inflammatory responses that are upregulated in critical COVID-19 cases. This therapy therefore stands to both save lives and alleviate the critical shortage of ventilators by reducing the need and/or length of ventilation in patients with severe COVID-19.

State Of Development

A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial testing the safety and efficacy of GlcNAc for severe COVID-19 is currently planned as part of an existing IND.

Patent Status

Patent Pending

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  • Demetriou, Micheal

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