Skip to main content

UNC School of Medicine researchers continue to explore

UNC School of Medicine researchers continue to explore how best to protect our patients and communities against COVID-19. Recent work includes findings that show that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination produces a robust immune response in the nasal cavity as well as results that show  Metformin substantially decreasing the risk of developing long COVID after infection from SARS-CoV-2.

Metformin and Long COVID

John Buse, MD, PhD, co-authored a study showing that the common diabetes drug metformin substantially decreased the risk of developing long COVID after infection from SARS-CoV-2. The clinical trial was led by researchers at the University of Minnesota.

Buse, who co-led the conception, design and oversight of the study, is the director of the NC Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute. The UNC School of Medicine was not a site for the clinical trial.

The study, called COVID-OUT, investigated if early outpatient COVID-19 treatment with metformin, ivermectin or fluvoxamine could prevent long COVID. Long COVID is a chronic illness that can affect up to 10% of people who have had COVID-19.

“Not only did we demonstrate that metformin, an inexpensive and safe treatment, may prevent the development of long COVID in many people, but we validated that long COVID is a real disease in that a 14-day treatment can reduce the risk of long COVID symptoms and a doctor’s diagnosis over many months,” said John Buse, MD, PhD, the Verne S. Caviness Distinguished Professor of Medicine and senior associate dean for clinical research at the UNC School of Medicine. Learn more.

mRNA Vaccines Produce Antibody Response in the Nasal Mucosa

new study by researchers in the UNC School of Medicine, including Meghan Rebuli, PhDIlona Jaspers, PhD, and Kevin T. Cao, lead author, has found that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination induces an immune response in the mucosal lining of the nasal cavity, offering new insights into potential vaccine strategies in the future.

“As SARS-CoV-2 variants continue to emerge and vaccine effectiveness wanes, we believe intranasal boosting following intramuscular priming may greatly reduce the risk of viral dissemination and infection, while also providing immunity against multiple variants,” said Rebuli, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Pediatrics and Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology.

Their results, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: Global, also showed that that Spikevax™ (Moderna) vaccinations outperforms Comirnaty® (BioNTech/Pfizer) in terms of antibody response in the blood and intranasal cavity. Learn more.