COVID-19: UCD leads on Irish clinical trials testing if blood thinners can help patients avoid ICU

Posted 7 May, 2020

University College Dublin Professor Fionnuala Ní Áinle is leading the Irish element of an international trial studying if blood thinners can help paitents with coronavirus avoid intensive care.

The trial, known as 'RAPID COVID COAG, is examining whether the drug heparin can impact on the progress of the disease.

Professor Ní Áinle, a consultant haematologist and clinical professor at the UCD School of Medicine, said the anticoagulant had anti-inflammatory and other mechanisms that might prevent a patient having to require a ventilator.

“There is one study in particular which has suggested that heparin can actually improve outcome in the sickest patients” she told the Irish Times.

“But we simply don’t know on a large scale whether a higher dose of heparin will do just that – protect patients from progressing to need intensive care or ventilation.”

“There are a number of clinical trials that are of a similar design being done around the world so there is a good probability that we will have an answer to this important question within the next six months,” added Professor Ní Áinle.

The RAPID trial is being led by Dr Michelle Scholzberg, St. Michael’s Hospital (Canada) and University of Toronto, and follows studies showing individuals admitted to hospital with COVID-19 experiencing high levels of blood clotting were more likely to require admission to intensive care units.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations