Humanity is battling a respiratory pandemic pneumonia named COVID-19 which has resulted in millions of hospitalizations and deaths. COVID-19 exacerbations occur in waves that continually challenge healthcare systems globally. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand all mechanisms by which COVID-19 results in health deterioration to facilitate the development of protective strategies. Oxidative stress (OxS) is a harmful condition caused by excess reactive-oxygen species (ROS) and is normally neutralized by antioxidants among which Glutathione (GSH) is the most abundant. GSH deficiency results in amplified OxS due to compromised antioxidant defenses. Because little is known about GSH or OxS in COVID-19 infection, we measured GSH, TBARS (a marker of OxS) and F2-isoprostane (marker of oxidant damage) concentrations in 60 adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Compared to uninfected controls, COVID-19 patients of all age groups had severe GSH deficiency, increased OxS and elevated oxidant damage which worsened with advancing age. These defects were also present in younger age groups, where they do not normally occur. Because GlyNAC (combination of glycine and N-acetylcysteine) supplementation has been shown in clinical trials to rapidly improve GSH deficiency, OxS and oxidant damage, GlyNAC supplementation has implications for combating these defects in COVID-19 infected patients and warrants urgent investigation.
Keywords: COVID-19; GlyNAC; glutathione; oxidant damage; oxidative stress.