Low-dose radiation therapy to the lungs has shown to speed recovery in hospitalized COVID-19 patients with pneumonia, a new study found.
The research team from Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute in Georgia treated 10 patients with the therapy and compared clinical outcomes to 10 patients in a control group.
The findings, which have not been yet peer-reviewed, were published on Tuesday in the medRxiv preprint server.
The team suggested the therapy could reduce severe inflammation associated with coronavirus and improve patients’ outcomes.
The radiation therapy allowed for a significantly faster clinical recovery, researchers wrote. Those treated with radiation recovered in three days, as opposed to 12 days in the control group.
Time to hospital discharge was reduced by eight days – 12, compared to 20 in the control group – and intubation was reduced to 10 percent of patients, compared to 40 percent for the control group.
“This report suggests the potential ability to improve upon the results of recent randomized trials with a 10-minute treatment that carries minimal toxicity and is well tolerated even in the elderly and fragile patients,” the study’s authors wrote.
“Ongoing international efforts to evaluate the optimal role of LD-RT (low-dose radiation therapy) in COVID-19 pneumonia are justified,” the researchers added.
An active Phase 3 trial will compare this therapy to doctors’ choice of COVID-19-directed therapies in these patients, the researchers wrote.