Can Viagra treat COVID-19? One nurse claims it saved her life

A woman from England got coronavirus, was put into a medically-induced coma and was rescued by Viagra.

 A box of Viagra sits on the shelf of a pharmacy (photo credit: REUTERS/MARK BLINCH)
A box of Viagra sits on the shelf of a pharmacy
(photo credit: REUTERS/MARK BLINCH)

A woman's condition was critical and the doctors considered shutting off the respirator. Luckily, at the last minute they injected a large quantity of the famed erection treatment drug. How did this work?

A hospital nurse who fought for her life after contracting coronavirus and being sedated for 28 days survived after her colleagues used none other than Viagra to treat her. 

Doctors had decided to turn off Monica Almeida’s ventilator within 72 hours if there were no signs of improvement, yet someone decided to use the famous drug which treats erectile dysfunction.

Almeida, 37, who had treated coronavirus patients since the start of the pandemic, tested positive in October. She lost her sense of taste and smell, then coughed up blood four days after contracting the virus. The next day, her oxygen levels plummeted and she went to the hospital, yet she didn’t receive any treatment and was discharged with a prescription for a standard medication. Just two hours from the moment she was home, Almeida couldn’t breathe and was rushed to a hospital in Lincoln, UK where she was sent straight to the resuscitation room.

Doctors struggled to return her oxygen levels to normal but her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to intensive care. She was intubated and put in a medically-induced coma. On November 16, her condition was so dire that her parents in Portugal were told to fly in to say goodbye to her. Doctors decided to use a certain other common medication, usually prescribed for a very different condition, to treat her. On December 14 she emerged from her coma and she was allowed to return home on Christmas Eve.

“Viagra saved me”

Viagra has been linked in the past as a possible way to treat coronavirus patients, as the little blue pill expands blood vessels and opens the airways. Scientists are conducting tests to determine if it can be used in the same way as inhaling nitric oxide, which can increase blood oxygen levels. Currently, coronavirus patients can be given Viagra only if they have consented to participate in a medical trial since this is not a standard use for the drug.

Almeida said: “It was definitely Viagra that saved me. Within 48 hours it opened my airways and my lungs started to respond. If you think about how the drug works, it dilates blood vessels. I have asthma and my air sacs needed some help."

The mother is now recovering at home with her husband Arthur and her two sons, ages 9 and 14. She’s urging people to get the vaccine after being told she would have died if she hadn’t been vaccinated.  Almeida added that some people say the vaccine has killed people. She doesn’t deny some people have had adverse reactions, but looking at the number of deaths for unvaccinated people, there’s an important message in favor of vaccines. She never expected to get so sick at age 37. She never thought it would happen to her and she wants people to consider this issue seriously.