(NOQ REPORT) – N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a precursor to reduced glutathione, appears to play an important role in COVID-19. According to an April 2020 literature analysis, glutathione deficiency may be associated with COVID-19 severity, leading the author to conclude that NAC may be useful both for its prevention and treatment.
NAC has a long history of use as a poison control remedy for acetaminophen poisoning in the emergency room. It neutralizes the toxic effects of the drug by recharging glutathione, thereby preventing liver damage. But the idea that NAC can also be helpful against viral infections is not new. Previous studies have found it reduces viral replication of certain viruses, including the influenza virus.
In one such study, the number needed to treat (NNT) was 0.5, which means for every two people treated with NAC, one will be protected against symptomatic influenza. That’s significantly better than influenza vaccines, which have an NNV (number needed to vaccinate) of 71, meaning 71 people must be vaccinated to prevent a single case of confirmed influenza. It’s even better than vitamin D, which has an NNT of 33.
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