Title

Could nasal nitric oxide help to mitigate the severity of COVID-19?

ORCiD

David M. Ojcius: 0000-0003-1461-4495

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Microbes and Infection

ISSN

12864579

DOI

10.1016/j.micinf.2020.05.002

Publication Date

1-1-2020

Abstract

© 2020 Institut Pasteur The nasal cavity and turbinates play important physiological functions by filtering, warming and humidifying inhaled air. Paranasal sinuses continually produce nitric oxide (NO), a reactive oxygen species that diffuses to the bronchi and lungs to produce bronchodilatory and vasodilatory effects. Studies indicate that NO may also help to reduce respiratory tract infection by inactivating viruses and inhibiting their replication in epithelial cells. In view of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), clinical trials have been designed to examine the effects of inhaled nitric oxide in COVID-19 subjects. We discuss here additional lifestyle factors such as mouth breathing which may affect the antiviral response against SARS-CoV-2 by bypassing the filtering effect of the nose and by decreasing NO levels in the airways. Simple devices that promote nasal breathing during sleep may help prevent the common cold, suggesting potential benefits against coronavirus infection. In the absence of effective treatments against COVID-19, the alternative strategies proposed here should be considered and studied in more detail.

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