BERKELEY, Calif., Feb. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Covid Early Treatment Fund (CETF) announced today that the medical journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases published a report that outlines the success in using a generic drug – fluvoxamine – to prevent complications of COVID-19.

“This real-world evidence study provides additional independent confirmation that fluvoxamine is highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID,” said Steve Kirsch, a Silicon Valley high-tech entrepreneur and the founder of CETF, a charitable organization that funds outpatient trials of existing drugs. “Repurposed drugs always have had the potential to be the fastest and least expensive way out of this pandemic. In this study, fluvoxamine was again shown to be 100% effective in the early treatment of COVID.”

The report by Dr. David Seftel, CEO of Enable Biosciences and a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. David Boulware, a professor and infectious disease physician-scientist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine, discusses the real-world experience of using fluvoxamine to treat workers after a COVID-19 outbreak in November and December at Golden Gate Fields, a Berkeley, Ca., horse-racing track.

Dr. Seftel, the track physician, offered fluvoxamine to infected employees after learning about the 100% success rate in avoiding hospitalization in a Phase 2 randomized controlled trial published on November 12, 2020, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  None of the 77 employees at Golden Gate Fields who opted to take fluvoxamine required hospitalization, compared with a 12.5% hospitalization rate for the 48 employees who declined the drug.  In addition, after two weeks, none of the treatment group had any COVID symptoms while 60% of the group who declined the drug had one or more COVID symptoms.

“This is one of the most extraordinary therapeutic effects I’ve witnessed in my 25 years of practicing medicine,” said Dr. Seftel. “There is no doubt in my mind that fluvoxamine significantly helped the workers at Golden Gates Fields battle this virus. In every case, respiratory decline reversed within about three days after starting the drug.”

The paper states: “Overall, fluvoxamine appears promising as early treatment for COVID-19 to prevent clinical deterioration requiring hospitalization and to prevent possible long-haul symptoms persisting beyond 2 weeks.”

Dr. Boulware previously led the randomized clinical trial in which hydroxychloroquine was shown to be ineffective as a treatment for COVID-19.

The Golden Gate Fields experience with fluvoxamine confirmed earlier findings from a 152-patient randomized clinical trial at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In that outpatient trial, Dr. Eric Lenze and colleagues found that fluvoxamine was 100% effective in preventing respiratory deterioration that normally would require hospitalization compared with an 8.3% hospitalization rate in the placebo group.

Fluvoxamine, an antidepressant, is in the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which work by increasing levels of serotonin within the brain. Lenze said the benefits of taking fluvoxamine appear to greatly outweigh any risks.

“A good way of thinking about SSRI risk is like if you took an aspirin a day for two  weeks,” he said. “It is benign, but if you happened to get in a car accident or have a bad fall in those two weeks, you’d be more prone to bleed. But if SSRIs help against COVID, their benefits far outweigh any risks. No medication is 100% safe, but these are pretty close.”

CETF is funding a Phase 3 clinical trial to examine the efficacy of using fluvoxamine for the early treatment of COVID. The trial began in December and is recruiting volunteers. To learn more about this nationwide at-home trial, please visit

To learn more about CETF’s mission or to donate to expedite the fight against COVID-19, visit


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