What is Covid-19?
Covid-19 is a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
Covid-19 costs almost half the price of other forms of arthritis treatment
Some sufferers are said to cost the NHS as much as £250,000 in treatment
The NHS does not pay for treatment which is not connected to transplants, a medical procedure
Medical experts have called for the use of Covid-19 in collaboration with transplants to see how effective the treatment is.
Why have they started using it?
The discovery was made two years ago by New York City researchers
To treat rheumatoid arthritis, most treatment is based on “active” forms of control, which involve carefully monitoring a patient’s condition to try to get the stiffness and inflammation that causes the disease under control.
But the new treatment uses an existing, “dead” form of control – known as the cause of arthritis, which kills the joints, causing the arthritis.
Covid-19 is thought to offer the chance of a more rapid drop in joint pain.
Covid-19 is thought to offer the chance of a more rapid drop in joint pain
Currently, patients needing joint replacements could wait up to two years before such a treatment becomes available.
With Covid-19 they would have the chance of having the operation sooner – while gaining the treatment to help with the arthritic joints.
Is it only the Dominicans using it?
Researchers initially identified the treatment in the Dominican Republic
Their research was funded by the US and Russian governments
Researchers initially set out to see if the two forms of treatment might be combined, as is often done when a disease develops resistance to one method.
But that did not work – so they asked locals in the country if they would consider taking the treatment.
What is the reasoning behind the government’s new enthusiasm for the treatment?
It does not yet appear to have been widely used in the UK.
Research suggesting a significant reduction in joint pain in patients who had taken it showed that it was less likely to damage or remove cartilage.
The research, published in the British Journal of Rheumatology in 2016, was funded by the US and Russian governments.
There is currently an industry-funded study using Covid-19 in the UK, while a government study into the treatment is expected to be published later this year.