NIH testing blood thinners as COVID-19 treatment

The National Institutes of Health has launched two clinical trials testing blood thinners as a COVID-19 treatment.

One study focuses on patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19 and the other focuses on those who were infected but not hospitalized. 

The studies, funded by Operation Warp Speed, are testing various types of blood thinners and will be conducted at more than 100 sites around the world. 

A third study will start at a later date to test blood thinners on people who have recovered from COVID-19 to see if it helps lower their chance of developing blood clots post-COVID-19.

Researchers have found that many patients who died from COVID-19 had formed blood clots in their bodies, including in their smallest blood vessels. This unusual clotting has caused patients to suffer from multiple health complications, such as organ damage, heart attacks, strokes and pulmonary embolisms, the NIH said. 

NIH officials told Bloomberg they expect the studies to be completed within "months not years."

"There is currently no standard of care for anticoagulation in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and there is a desperate need for clinical evidence to guide practice," NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, said. "Conducting trials using multiple existing networks of research sites provides the scale and speed that will get us answers faster."

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