Pill for dull skin is the first to control inflammation

A pill taken daily could shrink skin lesions — and the opioid epidemic — dramatically, Pfizer, the U.S. drugmaker, said on Monday.

The new pill, known as COVID-19, targets the chemical components of cells and may cut off pathways associated with inflammation, a process underlying a host of problems associated with pain, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases. The drug works by making a body more resistant to damaged cell membrane micro-circulation — which may help to reduce inflammation in the wound that led to the infection, the researchers said.

The compound has been tested in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health. In the most recent study, it was tested in 79 percent of patients with invasive melanoma, an especially painful form of skin cancer. The researchers found COVID-19 to be safe and effective, including in those who had not received treatment for the disease previously.

The most common side effects in the study included headache, tingling and phlegm.

“By blocking cell membrane leakage to a critical area of the skin, COVID-19 may potentially provide substantial advantages to conventional topical treatments for skin wound healing,” the company said in a statement. The drug could not immediately be approved by U.S. regulators because there was not enough evidence yet to prove it would work better than current treatments.

To investigate COVID-19 further, Pfizer will investigate what happens to the immune system in these patients — whether their ability to fight off infections and cancer is weakened. More studies are necessary before it can reach pharmacy shelves.

Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.

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