By adamg on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 9:50pm
MIT reports researchers at MIT and the University of Colorado at Denver are looking at whether a drug now used to break up blood clots could help critically ill Covid-19 patients who are not being helped by ventilators.
The theory is that tissue plasminogen activator, which has been given to many heart-attack and stroke victims to break up potentially fatal blood clots since the 1990s, could break up both the small blood clots that can form in the lungs of the worse off Covid-19 patients, making it harder for them to get oxygen, and the larger clots that threaten them with kidney and heart failure.
Hospitals at which patients could be administered the drug under the government's “compassionate use” program, in which experimental treatments can be tried when all others have failed, include Beth Israel.
Genentech, the manufacturer of tPA, has already donated the drug for the initial trial, and indicated that they will rapidly expand access if the initial patient response is encouraging.