Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center Tests New Treatment to Try to Prevent Ventilator Need in COVID-19 Patients

Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center Tests New Treatment to Try to Prevent Ventilator Need in COVID-19 Patients
Ohio State University

The Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center has launched a new clinical trial for COVID-19 patients.

It is the first in the state to use continuously pulsed inhaled nitric oxide to try to prevent the progression of respiratory disease "in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19-related pneumonia," says a release. The goal is to keep those who need supplemental oxygen off of ventilators.

“There’s a greater likelihood of death among COVID-19 patients with pneumonia who are placed on a ventilator,” said Dr. Sitaramesh Emani, principal investigator, cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and associate professor of cardiology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, in a release. “If we can treat patients with inhaled nitric oxide before they become so ill that they require a ventilator, we believe we can improve patient outcomes and reserve ventilators and hospital resources for the sickest patients.”

According to the Wexner Medical Center, inhaled nitric oxide was used during the SARS (SARS-CoV) outbreak in 2003 and 2004. COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, which is 82 percent identical to SARS-CoV, and the genetic similarities support the theory that there's potential for the same treatment to be beneficial for COVID patients.

"Inhaled nitric oxide is a well-established, safe and effective treatment to dilate arteries in the lungs, improving oxygen in the blood stream. Prior studies of SARS-CoV found inhaled nitric oxide’s antiviral properties could suppress how the virus replicates," says a release.

Patients in the trial are able to wear the nitric oxide on a belt or waistband.

“Traditionally, inhaled nitric oxide treatments use bulky canisters that require patients to remain in the hospital during treatment,” said Dr. Raymond Benza, co-principal investigator, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Bob and Corrine Frick Chair for Heart Failure at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and professor of cardiology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “As the patients in this trial improve, this novel delivery system will allow them to continue inhaled nitric oxide treatment at home, reducing their time in the hospital and limiting their exposure as they recover.”

COVID-19 patients in the trial are being admitted via compassionate use, as approved by the FDA, and will receive treatment for five days and up to two weeks.
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