People with COVID-19 exhibit a wide range of symptoms. In some cases, people are barely affected while others suffer extreme consequences. People with asthma are in particular danger, as SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus that can make breathing even more difficult. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the novel gammaCore Sapphire CV non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator (nVNS) to help adult asthmatics with COVID-19 (or those suspected of being infected) overcome difficulties breathing when drugs are not appropriate or are insufficient.
The gammaCore stimulator has been approved as a treatment option for migraines and cluster headaches (see flashbacks below), but it was initially researched as a way for treating reactive airway diseases such as asthma. The new Emergency Use Authorization, in a way, validates that research. “Results from prior pilot studies that evaluated gammaCore for the acute treatment of asthma support our belief that nVNS may provide much-needed relief to patients who are experiencing asthma-related breathing difficulty, which can be particularly debilitating in patients with COVID-19,” said Peter Staats, MD, Chief Medical Officer of electroCore. Potentially this may lead to the vagus nerve stimulator being used more widely for asthma and other reactive airway diseases.