Cystic fibrosis improves COVID-19 survival and provides clues for treatment of SARS-CoV-2.

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Systemic pools of ATP are elevated in individuals homozygous for cystic fibrosis (CF) as evidenced by elevated blood and plasma ATP levels. This elevated ATP level seems to provide benefit in the presence of advanced solid tumors (Abraham et al., Nature Medicine 2(5):593-596, 1996). We published in this journal a paper showing that IV ATP can elevate the depleted ATP pools of advanced cancer patients up to levels found in CF patients with subsequent clinical, biochemical, and quality of life (QOL) improvements (Rapaport et al., Purinergic Signalling 11(2): 251-262, 2015). We hypothesize that the elevated ATP levels seen in CF patients may be benefiting CF patients in another way: by improving their survival after contracting COVID-19. We discuss here the reasoning behind this hypothesis and suggest how these findings might be applied clinically in the general population.

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Authors: Edward H Abraham, Guido Guidotti, Eliezer Rapaport, David Bower, Jack Brown, Robert J Griffin, Andrew Donnelly, Ellen D Waitzkin, Kenon Qamar, Mark A Thompson, Sukumar Ethirajan, Kent Robinson