Cybin’s New Drug Might Help Clinicians on the Frontlines Plagued by COVID Distress

It is no secret that healthcare workers on the frontlines of the battle to combat COVID-19 are stressed out, angry, sad and struggling to stay mentally healthy.  Thankfully, the likes of Cybin (CYBN) are hard at work developing new drugs that have the potential to help these heroes overcome distress related to the virus and ongoing pandemic.  The company recently announced approvals from the FDA investigational new drug and Institutional Review Board for the co-funding of the second phase of its clinical trial for treating selfless frontline healthcare workers.

Details About Cybin’s Trial

Cybin, a biopharmaceutical business working hard to bring psychedelic treatments to the mainstream of healthcare treatment, garnered good favor with the public and the investing community by announcing the United States Food and Drug Administration gave the green light for a randomized and investigator-initiated Phase 2 clinical trial.  This trial will determine if the company’s psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy using psilocybin will help those on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus.  The trial will be placebo-controlled and conducted at labs on the University of Washington campus.  

The goal of the trial is to determine if psychedelics are effective for treating symptoms of general burnout, PTSD, nervousness and depression in doctors, nurses and others working in healthcare settings.  Dr. Anthony Back will serve as the Primary Investigator of the trial.  Back recently received IND, short for investigational new drug approval from the FDA.  The approval gives Cybin the authority to move forward with this important Phase 2 trial.

The study also received IRB approval, short for Institutional Review Board, provided by the Unviersity of Washington.  This trial will be conducted in the city of Seattle.  The research is particularly important for Seattle healthcare workers who have been on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.   The hope is that the study reveals the value of psychedelics-assisted therapy as a treatment modality for healthcare professionals who have endured mental trauma, stress and depression while working on the pandemic’s frontlines.

EMBARK’s Role in the Initiative

The Chief Clinical Officer of Cybin, Alex Belser, PhD, and a PhD candidate, Bill Brennan, created a 6-domain model for the use of psychedelic psychotherapy dubbed EMBARK.  EMBARK was designed to serve as a transdiagnostic model for psychotherapy with the potential for adaption to highlight a wide array of clinical indications including several different patient profiles.

An altered version of EMBARK was recently co-authored for the treatment of coronavirus-induced burnout including depression and anxiety symptoms experienced by healthcare professionals.  Study facilitators had the benefit of receiving training through the Cybin EMBARK Psychedelic Facilitator Training Program in the fall of ’21.  

If the study is successful, it will prove psychedelic treatment plays an important role in overarching psychotherapy programs designed to improve mental health.  The clinical trial will reveal if the use of psilocybin and EMBARK is truly effective in the context of improving the mental health of those providing healthcare assistance to COVID-19 patients.

Details About the Phase 2 Trial

The Phase 2 clinical trial will include 30 clinicians on the frontlines including nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors and physician assistants.  Individuals suffering from depression and/or anxiety, existential distress and other pathologies stemming from the ongoing pandemic will participate in the study.


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