Experimental Drug Targets Lung Damage and Fatal Blood Clots Caused by CCP Virus

Experimental Drug Targets Lung Damage and Fatal Blood Clots Caused by CCP Virus
This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the spherical particles of the new coronavirus, colorized blue, from the first U.S. case of COVID-19. (AP-Hannah A. Bullock, Azaibi Tamin/CDC via AP/The Canadian Press)
Venus Upadhayaya
Up to a third of the hospitalized CCP virus patients who are seriously ill are developing dangerous blood clots, according to a study conducted in the Netherlands, and an experimental drug to prevent them is about to be trialed in the United Kingdom.

The drug, a molecule known as TRV027, is set to be trialed in 60 patients with confirmed or suspected infection in hospitals in the United Kingdom, according to a release.

The trial, supported and funded by the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence at Imperial College London, will follow patients for eight days during the period of intensive care, often when they are on a ventilator.

“Without an effective vaccine for Covid-19, we urgently need to find new treatments which can reduce the damage caused by this virus,” said Sir Nilesh Samani, the Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation.

CCP Virus Impact Hormones

Researches say the CCP virus impacts two hormones—angiotensin II and angiotensin 1-7—and the balance between these two affects the blood vessels and blood pressure.

The CCP virus, or SARS—CoV-2, impacts angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2), which maintains the balance between these two hormones.

"In Covid-19, it is thought the balance tips towards too much angiotensin II which makes the blood become more sticky, leading to clots throughout the body, and in particular the lungs," noted the British Heart Foundation.

TRV027 is designed to save a patient's life as it opposes angiotensin II activity and mimics angiotensin 1-7 activity, which opposes angiotensin II.

“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," said Dr. Kat Pollock, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Vaccinology and Honorary Consultant at Imperial College London.

Pollock, who is one of the two leading the study, said that people with heart and circulatory diseases are more at risk of CCP virus infection and that the research will help find potential treatment.

The researchers said that if the pilot study gives promising results, they will secure funding to conduct a bigger clinical trial.

“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," said Dr. David Owen, Senior Clinical Research Fellow and Clinical Pharmacologist at Imperial College London.

"Drawing on this range of expertise will give us the best chance of finding a desperately needed treatment for Covid-19,” said Owen who is the second lead of the study.

Venus Upadhayaya reports on wide range of issues. Her area of expertise is in Indian and South Asian geopolitics. She has reported from the very volatile India-Pakistan border and has contributed to mainstream print media in India for about a decade. Community media, sustainable development, and leadership remain her key areas of interest.