Scientists from Amsterdam University Medical Centers found that patients with severe COVID-19 who were given imatinib had lower death risk at 90-day follow-up.
The research is published at the ATS 2022 international conference and was conducted by Job R. Schippers et al.
In the study, the team examined the long-term efficacy of imatinib in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the Netherlands.
A tyrosine kinase inhibitor, imatinib is currently an oncology drug as it blocks an abnormal protein that signals cancer cells.
The drug also blocks potentially deadly leakage of the small blood vessels in the lungs under inflammatory conditions, as is often seen in severe SARS-CoV-2 infections.
The researchers were able to determine clinical outcomes for all 385 patients—both for the imatinib and placebo groups.
The researchers found that in addition to reducing death risk at 90 days, critically ill patients required a shorter duration of invasive ventilation and less supplemental oxygen.
At the time of the study, participants also received other drugs to treat COVID-19. The most frequently used drug was dexamethasone (72 percent), a corticosteroid.
The use of these therapies was similar between the imatinib and placebo groups.
The team believes these findings imply that ICU patients with COVID-19 benefit from treatment with imatinib.
They hypothesize that imatinib confers benefits by reducing pulmonary edema in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
If other studies confirm these findings, imatinib can make a very meaningful contribution to the treatment of COVID-19.
They say that in this ongoing pandemic, this could result in lower mortality rates and shorter intensive care admissions.
In the future, the researchers hope to evaluate the efficacy of imatinib in non-COVID ARDS (severe acute lung injury due to other causes).
If you care about COVID, please read studies about how COVID affects the heart, and this drug is effective in treating severe COVID-19.
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