Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A clinical trial has commenced this week to test whether a drug called Almitrine can help people who are seriously ill with COVID-19 to recover from the disease.

Research lab equipment

Patients suffering from COVID-19 pneumonia often develop very low levels of oxygen, called hypoxia, in the arterial blood supplying the body. Researchers from the University of Oxford hypothesise that the underlying problem is that the virus disrupts a normal process in the lungs called hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction, which diverts blood away from the diseased, non-functional parts of the lung and towards the parts of the lung that are still working properly. If the lungs are prevented from diverting blood to better-oxygenated lung segments, then this can cause the profound hypoxia from which patients with COVID-19 may die. The supportive therapy in hospitals aims to prevent this by using supplementary oxygen and ventilators to support breathing.

Almitrine bismesylate, a drug first developed in France, has been successful in treating acute respiratory distress syndrome by constricting the blood vessels in regions of the lung where the oxygen is low. Researchers say Almitrine could have the same effect in COVID-19 patients, with the potential to help restore the natural protective process in the lungs and increase oxygen levels in the arterial blood. The trial team hopes that administering this drug to COVID-19 patients will consequently reduce the amount of other respiratory support the patient needs.

Read the full story on the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics website.

The story is also featured on the University of Oxford website.

Similar stories

Major boost for Oxford’s mission to counter future pandemic threats

The Moh Family Foundation has given a substantial gift to support the work of Oxford University’s Pandemic Sciences Institute, greatly strengthening its ability to identify and counter future pandemic threats and ensure equitable access to treatments and vaccines around the world.

Three NHSBT research units launch at University of Oxford

The NIHR has awarded three new Blood and Transplant Research Units (BTRUs) to the University of Oxford.

Fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose provides stronger immunity boost than third dose, shows UK study

COVID-19 vaccines given as fourth doses in the UK offer excellent boosting immunity protection, according to the latest results from a nationwide NIHR-supported study.

COVID-19’s high blood clot risk

A recent study of patient health records found that around 1 in 100 people with COVID-19 had a venal or arterial thrombosis, with rates higher still among males, and particularly for those hospitalised.

Medical Sciences Division receives REF 2021 results

Today the UK Funding Bodies have published the outcomes of the recent national research assessment exercise, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. REF is the UK-wide assessment of research in universities, and provides an expert evaluation of the quality of the research outputs, impact and environment at subject level in each university.

Cathy Creswell, David Roberts, and Matthew Costa elected Fellows of Academy of Medical Sciences

Cathy Creswell, Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology at the Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology, David Roberts, Professor of Haematology at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine and Consultant Haematologist, and Matthew Costa, Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery at the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, have been elected Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.