COVID-19: Deadly blood clots to be targeted in treatment trial

Coronavirus, covid-19
Emeh Joy

Scientists are to conduct a trial with an experimental drug, TRV027 to ascertain whether it can prevent potentially deadly blood clots linked with COVID-19.

The British Heart Foundation will fund the trial, which will test whether the clots are caused by hormone imbalance as a result of coronavirus infection. This drug will be among the many drugs that are currently under trial for preventing the worst effects of the viral infection.

Record has shown that about a third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients developed dangerous blood clots. The drug, TRV027 works to rebalance hormones involved in blood pressure, water and salt.

Scientists from the Imperial College London, who are involved in the trial believe that when the virus gains entrance into the body, it uses an enzyme as a "handle" to invade the cells.

This ends up inactivating the enzyme, which plays a crucial role in balancing the vital hormones. When the hormones are not balanced, the blood can get sticky, leading to clot formation. They believe that TRV027 can step in to play the rebalancing role.

Most of the treatments that are under COVID-19 trial focus on the body's inflammatory response but Dr David Owen one of the leaders of the study said the hormonal imbalance is a "quite distinct problem" which may offer clues to the question of why some people get severely ill while others don't.

Blood clotting might also explain why COVID-19 seems to have more effect on people who already have cardiovascular disease despite being a respiratory illness, the British Heart Foundation says.

Dr Kat Pollock, a joint lead on the study of potential COVID-19 treatment is of the opinion that since COVID-19 is a very complex disease which affects many of the body's systems, this treatment could as well be used in combination with other drugs.

About 60 patients are to be given either the new experimental drug or a placebo starting next month. The drug has shown to be safe in patient's with acute heart failure though it was not so effective as a treatment in this condition.

Reports show that at least ten different antiviral drugs such as HIV treatment lopinavir/ritonavir are being trialled to see if they can help with the fight against the disease. However, none has shown to be effective when used alone, although scientists still hope that several could be used together to shorten the duration of patients' illnesses.

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