Frequent Diabetes Drug Metformin May Assist Battle COVID-19

This content material initially appeared on On a regular basis Well being. Republished with permission.

By Lisa Rapaport

Key Takeaways

  • In folks with COVID-19, metformin diminished coronavirus ranges within the physique 4 occasions greater than a placebo tablet.
  • There’s proof that metformin would possibly make COVID-19 much less contagious.
  • As a result of analysis is restricted, docs don’t but suggest that individuals with COVID-19 start taking metformin.

Metformin, a decades-old generic drug for sort 2 diabetes, may assist deal with COVID-19, a brand new examine suggests.

Scientists on the College of Minnesota randomly assigned greater than 1,300 adults with COVID-19 to take metformin or a placebo tablet. All the contributors took nasal swab assessments for viral ranges after 1, 5, and 10 days.

Lab assessments confirmed that metformin considerably diminished the quantity of COVID-19 virus circulating within the physique and in addition decreased the percentages that virus ranges would rebound after an preliminary discount throughout remedy, in response to examine outcomes printed in Medical Infectious Illnesses.[1]

Among the many key analysis outcomes:

  • On common, metformin diminished the quantity of virus within the physique nearly 4 occasions greater than the placebo tablet.
  • Individuals taking metformin have been 28 % extra more likely to have undetectable ranges of the virus of their physique at both day 5 or day 10 of the examine.
  • Contributors on metformin have been 32 % much less more likely to expertise what’s referred to as rebound — when ranges of the virus initially lower however then change into larger once more.

“The outcomes of the examine are vital as a result of COVID-19 continues to trigger sickness, each throughout acute an infection and for months after an infection,” says lead examine writer Carolyn Bramante, MD, an assistant professor of medication on the College of Minnesota.

How Metformin May Battle COVID-19

The metformin examine wasn’t designed to determine why or how this diabetes remedy would possibly tamp down the coronavirus. However the drug blocks exercise of a protein referred to as mTOR, Dr. Bramante says. This protein performs a task in cell progress and replica and impacts immune responses.

“We hypothesized that metformin’s inhibition of mTOR might trigger a discount in SARS-CoV-2,” the particular sort of coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Bramante says.

Nonetheless, the doable advantages of metformin as a COVID-19 remedy aren’t but clear, with earlier research yielding conflicting outcomes.

One examine of metformin in COVID-19 sufferers discovered that the drug didn’t considerably cut back their odds of being hospitalized with extreme infections, in response to the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH). However the NIH notes that one other examine discovered COVID-19 sufferers who took metformin have been 42 % much less more likely to be hospitalized with extreme infections or die.[2]

Metformin Might Make COVID-19 Much less Contagious

Nonetheless, the outcomes of the brand new examine are notably promising as a result of decreasing ranges of the virus circulating within the physique additionally decreases so-called viral shedding, or releasing copies of the virus from the physique that may infect others, says Mark Siedner, MD, MPH, co-author of an editorial accompanying the examine and an affiliate professor of medication at Harvard Medical Faculty and Massachusetts Normal Hospital in Boston.[3]

“The shorter period of viral shedding, the shorter the period of potential contagiousness and transmission danger,” Dr. Siedner says.

Ought to You Begin Taking Metformin for COVID-19?

Despite the fact that metformin has potential as an intervention in opposition to COVID-19, it’s not but really helpful for this use. There nonetheless isn’t sufficient proof to prescribe metformin for folks with milder COVID-19 infections, and the NIH recommends in opposition to utilizing this drug in sufferers hospitalized with extreme infections until they’re a part of a scientific trial.[4]

“Based mostly on the information we now have now, I’d not personally prescribe metformin for remedy of COVID-19, nor would I like to recommend its use,” Siedner says.

On a regular basis Well being follows strict sourcing tips to make sure the accuracy of its content material, outlined in our editorial coverage. We use solely reliable sources, together with peer-reviewed research, board-certified medical consultants, sufferers with lived expertise, and knowledge from high establishments.


  1. Bramante C et al. Favorable Antiviral Impact of Metformin on Extreme Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Viral Load in a Randomized, Placebo-Managed Medical Trial of Coronavirus Illness 2019. Medical Infectious Illnesses. Might 1, 2024.
  2. Can Metformin Deal with COVID-19 and Forestall Lengthy COVID? NCATS and Companions Pursue Solutions. Nationwide Institutes of Well being. September 18, 2023.
  3. Siedner M et al. Repurposing Revisited: Exploring the Position of Metformin for Therapy of Coronavirus Illness 2019. Medical Infectious Illnesses. Might 1, 2024.
  4. COVID-19 Therapy Tips. Nationwide Institutes of Well being. December 20, 2023.

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