Blood thinning drugs can reduce the risk of death in Covid-19 patients, a group of British and American researchers said in a paper Thursday, who have called for the commonly available drugs to be given as a preventative measure to patients arriving at hospital.
About 14% of the patients who were given blood thinners within 24 hours of being admitted to hospital died from Covid-19, compared to 19% of patients who died who did not receive the drug, according to a new observational study in the British Medical Journal Thursday.
A total of 3,627 patients received the preventative blood thinner heparin within 24 hours of being admitted to hospital.
The researchers said the findings, based on data from more than 4,000 mostly male U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs patients who had been admitted to hospital with Covid-19, “provide strong real world evidence” to support the use of blood thinners as a preventative treatment in coronavirus patients.
It is believed that some Covid-19 deaths are caused by blood clots developing in major veins and arteries, a process blood thinning drugs would be able to interfere with.
As the study is based on an observation, clinical trials will be needed to conclusively say whether or not the drugs can help boost the chances of survival for Covid-19 patients.
Dr. Mark Skidmore, Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry at Keele University in the U.K., said the study was “very strong… with high quality, strong data supporting prophylactic heparin (the drug) therapy on hospital admission.” Skidmore said the “implications are clear for revising clinical practice on hospital admission of Covid patients,” adding that the “significant reduction in death rate is something that is highly desirable.”
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