Health

Coronavirus patients’ lives could be saved by special blood-thinning drugs, doctors say


BLOOD-THINNING drugs could be key in helping to save coronavirus patients’ lives, a team of top British doctors has found.

The new discovery raises hopes as medics rush to find effective treatments for the killer bug – which has killed more than 310,000 people worldwide.

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 British doctors made the discovery that blood-thinning could be key in treating coronavirus
British doctors made the discovery that blood-thinning could be key in treating coronavirusCredit: WPA Rota

London doctors made the discovery after realising coronavirus caused potentially deadly blood clots in the lungs of seriously ill patients.

NHS England is set to give hospitals fresh guidence on blood thinning which may help save lives, reports The Telegraph.

The team at Royal Brompton Hospital’s severe respiratory failure service established the link between Covid-19 and blood clots in the lungs.

Using high tech CT scans, they managed to realise there was a lack of blood flow which suggesting clotting in small blood vessels.

Patients suffering from severe coronavirus have been dying due to lung failure triggered by a lack of oxygen in the blood.

Low oxygen levels have also been reported in Covid-19 patients who are not yet suffering breathlessness.

It is hoped blood thinning will clear these clots and potentially help cut the death rate – with the UK fatality figures climbing to 34,466.

Professor Peter Openshaw, who sits on the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said: “This intravascular clotting is a really nasty twist that we haven’t seen before with many other viruses.

“It does sort of explain the rather extraordinary clinical picture that is being observed with people becoming very hypoxic, very low on oxygen and not really being particularly breathless.

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“That would fit with it having a blood vessel origin.”

Randomised clinical trials to test the treatment on Covid-19 patients are now reportedly being fast tracked by the government.

Doctors have however highlighted the need to use blood thinning carefully, as it can have deadly side effects.

The specialists said it must be used with a “personalised approach” and must “start very early” to prevent the killer clots.

Dr Brijesh Patel, from Royal Brompton Hospital, said: “I think the majority of patients will end up on significant therapeutic doses of blood-thinning agents as we learn more about this disease.

“If these interventions in the blood are implemented appropriately, they will save lives.”

Dr Patel added: “I think it is important to introduce blood thinning agents that are associated with Covid, but you have to do it in the right way, otherwise you can cause harm.”

His team studied 150 of some of the UK’s most critically ill patients to discover the extent of the damage coronavirus does to the lungs.

The team’s official findings are due to published next week as the race continues to try and beat Covid-19.

It comes as the head of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, have said hospital admissions in England have halved since the peak of the virus.

He said the NHS had “so far risen” to the biggest challenge in its 71-year history, but added that the country was “not out of the woods” yet.

The government has now laid out a road map to navigate Britain out of the lockdown – with the first measures being eased this week.

However, the World Health Organisation has warned of a second wave of coronavirus hitting Europe if lockdowns are eased to rapidly.

Dr Hans Kluge, the body’s regional director, said that governments should be cautious when lifting restrictions and that now is the “time for preparation, not celebration”.

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