This popular drug for stroke may help fight COVID-19

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Similar diseases to COVID-19, including the common flu, can create inflammation which results in deposits of a protein called fibrin. Fibrin is the scaffold that blood clots are made of.

This build-up of fibrin takes up space and reduces the amount of oxygen the lung can take in.

Patients with COVID-19 are prone to forming unwanted blood clots which ultimately increases the risk of death.

Currently, the advice is to treat COVID-19 patients with lung complications using medication to prevent unwanted blood clots forming.

However, these medications will not help to breakdown clots that have already formed.

In a recent review study from the University of Aberdeen, researchers found that a drug commonly used to treat patients suffering from strokes may be repurposed to treat people with COVID-19.

They suggested a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) could be a ‘pragmatic’ way to tackle lung injury complications caused by the virus.

The study is published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. One author is Dr. Nicola Mutch from the University’s Cardiovascular & Diabetes Centre.

In this review study, the team proposed the clot-buster drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which is currently used to treat stroke patients, could be used to target clots that have already formed.

The team said given the urgent time scale of treating severely ill patients and the current burden on the NHS, repurposing of existing therapies, such as tPA, is a pragmatic approach in addressing the lung injury complications linked to COVID-19.

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