April 18, 2023 -- In a Phase 2 clinical trial of a potential treatment for fatigue associated with long COVID-19, people who received the medicine reported positive results over those receiving a placebo.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford and reported in eClinical Medicine.

It was one of the first randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial for a possible treatment for long COVID, Oxford said in a press release

“People living with long COVID in the trial who received AXA1125 had a significant improvement in fatigue compared to those who received a placebo,” Oxford said.

Forty-one people participated. They had fatigue for 18 months beforehand. All completed the study, and none reported serious side effects, Oxford said.

AXA1125 was developed by US pharmaceutical company Axcella Therapeutics.

Long COVID refers to persistent symptoms, including fatigue, that last more than 12 weeks after infection. “Potential causes include reduced mitochondrial function and cellular bioenergetics,” the study says.

“AXA1125 was tested in long COVID fatigue as previous data from Axcella showed effects on cellular energetics and inflammation. Emerging data on long COVID suggests that the virus targets the mitochondrial, which are essential to normal energy generation and control of inflammation,” Oxford said. “AXA1125 may improve energy generation and reduce the amount of inflammation in the body.”

The study’s authors wrote that AXA1125 was tied to a “significant reduction in 28-day Chalder Fatigue Questionnaire score relative to placebo.” They said participants who reported less fatigue also had better mitochondrial health and walked farther in a six-minute test.

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