Utah COVID Patients Among First In Global Treatment Trial
MURRAY, Utah — COVID-19 patients in Utah will be among the first enrolled in a global trial of treatments that could reduce the severity of the virus.
Researchers at Intermountain Healthcare helped design and launch the study. They are focused on reducing blood clots in COVID-19 patients, and need recent patients for the trial.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Health and is part of Operation Warp Speed, a public/private partnership aimed at finding treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.
“This study is unique because it focuses on patients who have never been admitted to a hospital,” said Dr. Sarah Majercik, a trauma surgeon at Intermountain Healthcare and principal investigator of the Utah study.
Researchers at Intermountain Healthcare, and three other US hospitals, want to find out whether commonly-prescribed blood thinners can reduce microscopic blood clots associated with COVID-19.
“Those who agree to participate in the trial will receive either aspirin, Apixaban — which is also known as Eliquis — or a placebo,” said Majercik.
They hope to discover whether early intervention with these treatments can prevent the formation of potentially-deadly blood clots in the lungs, reduce the severity of COVID-19 and keep patients out of the hospital.
“Can we give a blood thinning medication to help reduce those small blood clots before the patient gets really sick, and if so, can we prevent the blood clot complications?” said Dr. Joseph Bledsoe, director of research in the department of emergency medicine at Intermountain Healthcare.
Doctors said they already believe inflammation from COVID-19 causes blood clots to form in the brain, the heart, the lungs, and other parts of the body.
“It’s to a level that we just haven’t seen with other disease processes,” said Bledsoe.
Microscopic blood clots have been found in autopsy reports on patients who have died from COVID-19.
Doctors discovered multiple blood clots killing tissue in Jennifer Hunter’s lungs when she was hospitalized with COVID-19 five months ago.
“I had had a test, and I didn’t even get the test results back before I was in the hospital,” she said.
Hunter was training for a half marathon when she got sick.
Today, she still has trouble breathing and thinks early intervention with blood thinners could make a difference for others.
“I think anything that could maybe prevent some of that would be worth it, even if it’s just aspirin or some low-dose blood thinner,” she said.
She said she’s optimistic she can run again soon and regain the strength she had before she had the virus.
Researchers hope the treatments will prove to be effective enough that patients don’t get that sick.
“We are merely looking to see if there are any positive effects of these medications on patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19,” said Majercik.
The study has already started enrolling adults ages 40 to 80 who have been sick with COVID-19 during the past two weeks, but were not hospitalized.
“It’s exciting because it really has the potential to impact the vast majority of COVID-19 patients,” she said.
Enrolling 700 patients in the Intermountain Health care system and 7,000 patients globally.
People interested in enrolling in the study or want more information can email Intermountain clinical investigators at COVIDOutpatientTrials@imail.org.
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