Antioxidant therapy: novel and affordable addition to CanTreatCOVID trial

July 26, 2023

A nationwide clinical trial has received an award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study the effectiveness of antioxidant therapy for COVID-19 treatment.

“With antioxidants widely available at a fraction of the cost of current COVID-19 treatments and without the need for a prescription or close medical supervision, this alternative therapy has the potential to reach and benefit communities both in Canada and worldwide,” wrote Dr. Benita Hosseini, Research Scientist at Upstream Lab based at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital, with co-applicants.

COVID-19 treatments for non-hospitalized adults should be safe, easy to administer, accessible in the community and cause minimal side effects. Researchers considered antioxidant supplements in the earlier stages of the pandemic; however, data are mostly from observational studies, and decision-makers need more high-quality evidence from clinical trials.

The $100K CIHR grant will allow researchers to evaluate a combined antioxidant therapy (300ug selenium, 40mg zinc, 45mg lycopene, and 1.5g vitamin C) patients will take for 10 days, compared to standard care and other medications.

Scientists at the University of Toronto, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Manitoba and University of Oxford highlighted the potential of this new treatment in their proposal. “Antioxidant therapy offers a promising solution, as it has the potential to provide similar results to current medications without the risk of side effects, and at a lower cost.”

The new treatment is part of the Canadian Adaptive Platform Trial of Treatments for COVID in Community Settings (CanTreatCOVID). Launched in January 2023, the trial partners with over 30 organizations across Canada to identify treatments that will help people feel better faster, keep them out of hospitals and prevent long COVID. Currently, the study is enrolling participants in Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, with sites in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec planning to open in mid-August.

The adaptive platform trial design allows the study to continue evaluating current and future medications. While CanTreatCOVID started with COVID-19, it will transition to a broader trial to examine treatments for other acute respiratory infections.


Learn more

Browse by Category

From the Archives