Drs. Ana Andreazza and Michael Farkouh share their trial to prevent severe COVID-19 on CTV News
Dr. Ana Andreazza, associate professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, has been studying the açai berry extract’s effect as a possible anti-inflammatory therapy for mental health disorders. Her studies showed the extract specifically decreased NLRP3-mediated inflammation, an inflammatory sensor that triggers the body's response to fight off stress and infection. As the coronavirus became a global pandemic, Andreazza was surprised to find NLRP3 also appears in severe COVID cases. That’s when she approached university officials with the idea and teamed up with Farkouh to conduct a trial.
Their trial involves some 580 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are isolating at home. Some of the patients will be given acai pills, while others will be given a placebo pill. Patients will take one capsule every eight hours, amounting to 520 Mg a day, and provide an assessment of their symptoms to researchers every 15 days. Half of the patients involved in the trial are located in Toronto, while the rest are located in Sao Paolo, Brazil -- a country that has documented more than 3,760,000 cases of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic and where high-cost treatments aren't an option.