British Heart Foundation funding trial of experimental drug designed to prevent blood clots in coronavirus patients

pharmafile | June 16, 2020 | News story | Manufacturing and Production COVID-19, blood clots, coronavirus 

The British Heart Foundation is funding a trial for a drug that could prevent life-threatening blood clots that have been seen in the lungs of patients with COVID-19.

The drug is named TRV027 and is said to normalize the hormonal imbalance that can be seen in patients developing the virus. Research into the treatment is being conducted by a team at Imperial College London.

The coronavirus uses the ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme) receptors to enter host cells, and this is the enzyme that regulates salt and water balance and blood pressure regulation and control in the body. When the virus invades the body it disables this enzymes which leads to a hypercoagulable states within the body, increasing blood clotting and clogging up the blood vessels.

The experimental drug has been found to restore the imbalance in the body affecting the blood pressure and control of the coagulation state.

Dr David Owen, the leader of the study, said: “This virus poses a huge challenge for researchers because so much about it is unknown. In order to fight it, we need a team effort. This project has brought together pathologists, virologists, pharmacologists and researchers who usually focus on the heart and circulatory diseases.  Drawing on this range of expertise will give us the best chance of finding a desperately needed treatment for COVID-19.”

For the pilot clinical trial, 60 COVID-19 positive patients will be recruited and will be followed up closely for a period of eight days when the symptoms of the disease worsen and patients are typically admitted to the ICU or put on ventilation. One group would receive the drug and the other would receive a placebo. The drug has been found to be safe in those with heart failure.

Dr Pollock, a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Vaccinology and Honorary Consultant at Imperial College London, said: “We need to move away from thinking of COVID-19 as solely a respiratory illness – it also has devastating effects on the rest of the body, including the blood vessels and heart. When this infection was first described, we were surprised to learn that people with heart and circulatory diseases appeared to be at risk. Our study will play an important role in understanding the mechanisms which make Covid-19 dangerous and offers a potential treatment.”

Conor Kavanagh

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