Coronavirus treatment: Anti-clotting drug 'may help prevent COVID-19 deaths'
Following successful phase-1 trials of the anti-clotting drug (developed in Australia) in 72 healthy patients, the researchers now want to urgently move into phase 2 trials by testing the effectiveness and safety of the medicine in critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Researchers from Australia’s Heart Research Institute (HRI) have developed an anti-clotting medicine with the potential to treat the novel coronavirus by controlling the formation of blood clots responsible for breathing difficulties, organ failure, stroke and heart attack.
According to health officials, COVID-19 can unleash a devastating storm of blood clots that cause breathing difficulties, stroke, heart attack and death, and have identified the critical role of blood clots in converting COVID-19 from a mild respiratory disorder into a life-threatening disease.
Researchers say that severe COVID-19 infection leading to respiratory failure is linked with the development of widespread blood clots throughout the lungs. With up to 75% of ICU patients with COVID-19 developing these blood clots, preventing or dissolving them quickly may be the key to preventing death and long-term organ damage.
Professor Shaun Jackson from the University of Sydney and the Heart Research Institute is leading a team of researchers developing a new anti-clotting medicine that can treat stroke, targets and dissolves blood clots safely. He has been working with his team on this for over 20 years.
About three in four of critical COVID-19 patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) develop clots with their recovery rate critically low, Jackson said.
"If our medicine can control these clots, then organ failure and death in many thousands of cases could be avoided. We want COVID-19 patients reaching for the tissue box, not hooked up to ventilators," Jackson said.
Following successful phase-1 trials in 72 healthy patients, the researchers now want to urgently move into phase 2 trials by testing the effectiveness and safety of the drug in critically ill COVID-19 patients.
"It could then be a matter of months before doctors around the world can use the novel anti-clotting drug to protect patients with COVID-19, potentially saving thousands of lives," Jackson said.
More than 7.53 million people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus around the world and 420,808 have died. Australia reported about 7,300 cases and 102 deaths with some parts of the country now claiming to have eliminated the virus.
Jackson said phase-2 trials of the drug, which is administered intravenously, will need to be done overseas because there were not enough severely ill patients on ventilators in Australia.