ST. LOUIS ( - An anti-depressant used for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is showing positive results in the early weeks of a drug trial at Washington University School of Medicine.

The clinical trial is focusing on a medication called Fluvoxamine.

"A number of people telling us that very soon after starting the medicine, some of their symptoms are going away quickly," said lead researcher Dr. Eric Lenze.

According to Lenze, the severe, life-threatening symptoms that put patients in hospital ICU units are caused by the body's immune system overreacting to the virus. The drug appears to dampen down the immune system's response.

"May protect the body from what's called this cytokine storm. This excessive immune response. That often happens late in the course of a COVID illness," Lenze said.

So far, the study has around 60 participants but needs more to get a more accurate picture of Fluvoxamine's effectiveness. Despite the early indication that the drug can lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of illness from COVID-19, Lenze said a larger, multi-site clinical trial should come next before the medication could get FDA approval.

"I don't think this study alone will be enough to make an argument to the whole country and the whole world, 'Hey you should start using Fluvoxamine for COVID," he said.

The study is looking for more participants. Those ideal for the trial are people who've tested positive for the coronavirus, are well enough to stay home and are in the first 7 days of symptoms.

You can call 314-747-1137 to sign up and learn more information at

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