Beth Israel holding clinical trial for drug that could help treat coronavirus-related illness

BOSTON (WHDH) - Doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are holding a clinical trial of an anti-clotting drug that could potentially help people with coronavirus-related lung failure and reduce stress on ventilators, hospital officials said.

Ventilators are used to treat people who have developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after being infected with the coronavirus, and Massachusetts is one of many states facing a shortage of ventilators as coronavirus patients surge.

The Beth Israel team of physician-scientists are enrolling patients for a clinical trial of a medication called tPA after a recently published report suggested the common anti-clotting drug could reduce deaths due to ARDS stemming from the coronavirus.

The FDA approved tPA, an anticoagulant that is naturally produced by the body, for patients suffering from heart attacks and strokes in 1996. Doctors said some coronavirus patients have suffered abnormal clotting, and treating them with tPA could reduce their treatment and recovery time on ventilators.

“If effective and safe for the treatment of ARDS in patients with COVID-19, tPA could save lives by reducing recovery time and freeing up more ventilators for other patients in need,” said Dr. Christopher D. Barrett, a senior surgical resident at Beth Israel and a research fellow at MIT.

The trial will enroll patients with coronavirus-induced ARDS and identify characteristics to determine which patients are most likely to respond to tPA, doctors said.

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