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Vol.61  「Researchers from Oxford showed the potential of a drug for the treatment of long Covid fatigue」

Last Updated 12 May 2023. Cellspect Co., Ltd.

An experimental drug could significantly reduce fatigue in people with long COVID, a new study from the University of Oxford suggests. Scientists who carried out the small-scale clinical trial and found the drug, called AXA1125, may increase energy production in cells and reduce inflammation for people fighting the virus and its aftereffects.


AXA1125 is an investigational treatment developed by US-based Axcella Therapeutics and was originally developed for the treatment of fatty liver disease. This study included participants were 44 years of age on average, about two-thirds were women, and 90% were white. Mean BMI was 26.4, and long COVID symptoms had been present for an average of about 17-18 months. All the participants of the trial finished the study, with no serious adverse effects of both treatment or placebo reported during the trial.


Its results, published in Lancet eClinical Medicine, showed those who received the experimental drug reported significantly improved levels of fatigue. According to the researchers, emerging data suggests the COVID virus targets mitochondria. But the combination of five amino acids and an amino acid derivative contained in AXA1125 appears to improve power output through multiple biological pathways. The effect of the medication on other symptoms of long COVID has yet to be studied.


Mounting evidence suggests a role for mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired cellular bioenergetics. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is thought to 'hijack' the host mitochondria to facilitate viral replication, compromising function, increasing inflammation and oxidative stress. Subsequent energy dysregulation triggered by metabolic reprogramming (a switch from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis) is proposed to manifest as chronic fatigue.


Margaret Koziel MD, the Axcella's chief medical officer, said: "We are encouraged by these results, and hope that a treatment for people who suffer from long COVID fatigue may be in sight."


By the end of last year, more than 500 million cases of COVID-19 were reported across the world. According to Oxford University, up to 10% of people who caught the virus are thought to be suffering from long COVID. To date, no drugs are approved for treating long COVID. While long COVID, or post-COVID syndrome, can encompass a wide range of symptoms, prior studies estimate that fatigue is involved in anywhere from 37% to 51% of cases. Hope these positive findings help lead to breakthrough in long-term COVID treatment.


  1. Lucy E.M. Finnigan et al., April 14, 2023 “Efficacy and tolerability of an endogenous metabolic modulator (AXA1125) in fatigue-predominant long COVID: a single-centre, double-blind, randomised controlled phase 2a pilot study” EClinicalMedicine

  2. Thomas Moore, April 14, 2023 “Hope for long COVID treatment breakthrough after study's 'really positive' findings” Sky News

  3.  Ian Ingram, April 15, 2023 “Drug Hints at Benefit for Long COVID Fatigue in Small Trial” MEDPAGE Today

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