Previously Shelved Sickle Cell Anemia Medication Being Tested for Use in COVID-19 Patients
Researchers at UC Davis Health are providing a medication called senicapoc to a team at Aarhus University in Denmark for clinical research in a COVID-19 study. The study will determine if the drug can help COVID-19 patients with lung damage.
Senicapoc was originally developed as a treatment for sickle cell anemia. Although the drug was found to be safe, it did not work to reduce severe symptoms of sickle cell anemia and was shelved. Later, senicapoc was shown to reduce inflammation in the brain in animals, and it is currently being studied for Alzheimer's treatment at UC Davis. Now, it is thought that the anti-inflammatory effects could help alleviate lung damage in COVID-19 patients.
The clinical trial in Denmark will evaluate 46 patients in the intensive care unit setting with low blood oxygen saturation levels. Researchers hope to share details of the study in the next few months.
"When a person is infected with COVID-19, the worst-case scenario is that they will suffer severe lung disease that could lead to death," said Ulf Simonsen, professor and doctor of medical science and lead clinical researcher of the Aarhus University trial, in a press release. "This is the situation where the need for treatment with a ventilator occurs. It's also here that we hope the senicapoc treatment can make a difference — if only so that the patients require a shorter period on a ventilator."