A preclinical study suggests a new approach to reduce COVID-19 death among the elderly. Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School demonstrated that senolytic drugs significantly reduced mortality upon infection from a beta-coronavirus closely related to SARS-CoV-2 in older mice.
The researchers found that older mice exposed for the first time to a mouse beta-coronavirus experienced nearly 100% mortality, whereas young mice barely got sick. When they treated the older mice with senolytic drugs following infection, their survival rate increased to 50%. The senolytic drugs reduced mortality, cellular senescence, and inflammatory markers and increased anti-viral antibodies.
Although this information comes a little late for the COVID pandemic we endured over the past 18 months, it does give us hope that if the new variants increase the risk of breakthrough infections that we may have a chance at saving our seniors. Gotta love the researchers! Stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!