New drug trial targets blood clots in patients with COVID-19

A new trial is underway to assess the ability of an experimental medication to prevent life-threatening blood clots in patients with COVID-19.

Funded by the British Heart Foundation, the trial will assess the efficacy of a drug known as TRV027—an enzyme that functions to rebalance hormones involved in the regulation of blood pressure and blood vessel function and is the cell-surface ‘entry point’ for the SARS–CoV-2 virus—in the treatment of patients with abnormal blood clotting triggered by COVID-19.

Reportedly, up to a third of patients in critical care with COVID-19 develop dangerous blood clots, such pulmonary emboli and deep vein thromboses. Movement of fragments of these blood clots to block blood vessels can be life-threatening, and events such as this may be contributing to the number of deaths from COVID-19.

It is thought that severe inflammation caused by COVID-19 causes hormonal changes that make blood more prone to clotting in patients with COVID-19. Treatment with blood-thinning medications is not always successful, yet dose escalation has caused major bleeds in some patients. Trials are underway to determine the optimum dose of blood thinners for use in people with COVID-19; however, depending on the outcomes of the trial, TRV027 may represent an alternative approach.