Disulfiram (DSF) a safe, easily dosed, FDA-approved drug for the treatment of alcohol dependence has been identified to be a potential therapeutic target for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Disulfiram may have both antiviral (inhibiting viral replication via blocking the Mpro protease and zinc ejection) and anti-inflammatory effects (via inhibition of NF-kB-induced and NLRP inflammasome-induced cytokine release) on SARS-CoV-2. We will study oral disulfiram given for 5 consecutive days (1000 mg/day in cohort 1; 2000 mg/day in cohort 2) in 60 symptomatic COVID+ individuals in a randomized (2:1) randomized, double blind placebo-controlled trial evaluating disulfiram's effect on COVID-19 symptom severity, SARS-CoV-2 viral load, and biomarkers of inflammation and pyroptosis (aberrant pro-inflammatory cell death) over 31 days.
DISulfiram for COvid-19 (DISCO) Trial: A Phase 2 Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial of Disulfiram Compared to Standard Care in Patients With Symptomatic COVID-19
The identification of a safe, effective treatment for individuals with early mild-to-moderate symptomatic COVID-19 that prevent progression to more severe disease would have immediate public health implications. A hallmark of severe COVID-19 disease is immune system dysregulation called cytokine storm. Multiple studies have reported that patients with severe disease demonstrate elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines early in disease, and elevated IL-6 plasma concentrations are predictive of poor clinical outcomes in COVID-19. Disulfiram, an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of alcohol dependence disorder is an appealing therapeutic option for COVID-19. It has a good safety profile, easy dosing schedule, and recent data suggesting multiple mechanisms by which disulfiram may act on COVID-19 (both as a direct antiviral agent as well as indirect effects on reducing inflammation). In addition disulfiram has been studied extensively with detailed available pharmacokinetic data; disulfiram has a short half-life ~7.5 hours with >90% of drug eliminated within 3 days post-dose, allowing quick reversal of any potential adverse effects. We will perform a phase 2 randomized (2:1), double blind placebo-controlled assessment of disulfiram in people with early mild-to-moderate symptomatic COVID-19. A total of 60 symptomatic COVID+ individuals will enrolled to receive active drug versus placebo (with equal distribution of mild or moderate/severe within each dosing cohort and within each randomization arm). For cohort 1, N=20 will receive DSF 1000 mg/N=10 placebo, and for cohort 2, N=20 will receive DSF 2000 mg/N=10 placebo. Drug/placebo will be administered using strict infection control protocols designed to support the study of people with acute COVID-19 infection per the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) guidelines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html).