Disulfiram use is associated with lower risk of COVID-19: A retrospective cohort study

Change log

Effective, low-cost therapeutics are needed to prevent and treat COVID-19. Severe COVID-19 disease is linked to excessive inflammation. Disulfiram is an approved oral drug used to treat alcohol use disorder that is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and an inhibitor of the viral proteases. We investigated the potential effects of disulfiram on SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease severity in an observational study using a large database of clinical records from the national US Veterans Affairs healthcare system. A multivariable Cox regression adjusted for demographic information and diagnosis of alcohol use disorder revealed a reduced risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection with disulfiram use at a hazard ratio of 0.66 (34% lower risk, 95% confidence interval 24–43%). There were no COVID-19 related deaths among the 188 SARS-CoV-2 positive patients treated with disulfiram, in contrast to 5–6 statistically expected deaths based on the untreated population (P = 0.03). Our epidemiological results suggest that disulfiram may contribute to the reduced incidence and severity of COVID-19. These results support carefully planned clinical trials to assess the potential therapeutic effects of disulfiram in COVID-19.


Funder: Harvard Medical School

Funder: VA Cooperative Studies Program

Funder: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; funder-id: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100007886

Funder: VA Boston Healthcare System

Funder: National Institutes of Health; funder-id: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000002

Research Article, Biology and life sciences, Medicine and health sciences, Physical sciences
Journal Title
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Public Library of Science
british heart foundation (RG/4/32218)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIH/NIAMS) (K23AR069127)