Study finds blood thinning drug does not improve recovery from severe COVID-19

A UK-wide trial has found that a drug used to reduce the risk of blood clots does not help patients recovering from moderate and severe COVID-19.

The HEAL-COVID trial (HElping to Alleviate the Longer-term consequences of COVID-19) is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

More than 1,000 patients hospitalised with COVID-19 took part in the study, which is led by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) and the University of Cambridge.

The platform trial is aiming to find treatments to reduce the number who die or are readmitted following their time in hospital. Patients are asked to take part in the study when they are discharged from hospital, following their first admission for COVID-19. They are randomised to a treatment and their progress tracked.

Results have shown that prescribing Apixaban, an oral anticoagulant, does not stop coronavirus patients from later dying or being readmitted to hospital over the following year.

In addition to not being beneficial, a number of participants receiving Apixban experienced bleeding, requiring them to discontinue treatment.

There was also no benefit from Apixaban in terms of the number of days alive and out of hospital 60 days after starting the study (Apixaban 59 days, versus standard care 59 days).

Following these results, the trial will continue to test another drug called Atorvastatin. This is a widely used lipid lowering drug (‘a statin’) that acts on other mechanisms of disease that are thought to be important in COVID-19.

Read more at: HEAL-COVID Information