Nitric oxide helps your cells work. It’s a colorless, odorless gas that plays an important role in the function of the body, especially in the respiratory system. It encourages normal vascular function. It helps regulate inflammation. And it has antimicrobial qualities, which is to say it attacks invading organisms.
But there’s a problem: A serious novel coronavirus infection seems to result in or at least overlap with a loss of nitric oxide. That might be a factor in some of the more dangerous aspects of the disease—one scientists think could potentially be helped with something as simple as an inhaler.