Not only the development of vaccines, but also research into more effective drugs to treat COVID-19 is making progress. A study on peptide-based active substances is currently underway at the LMU Munich Hospital in Großhadern. The head of the Department of Anaesthesiology and DZL-PI Prof. Bernhard Zwißler is leading the clinical trial for the study in Germany.
The patients are treated with a specific active substance based on a chemically synthesised part of a human protein. The active substance with the International nonproprietary name (INN) solnatide had shown positive effects in the treatment of lung diseases in other clinical studies. The current study at nine European centres or clinics is now extending the investigations to COVID-19 patients. For this purpose, the SOLNATIDE project consortium from four countries was able to acquire EU funding, totaling about one and a half million euros. The clinical implementation of the study in COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care is taking place at the LMU Hospital under the direction of PD Dr. Sandra Frank.
Since it is administered as an aerosol by inhalation, the active ingredient reaches the damaged lung tissue directly, where it can exert its effect and subsequently make it easier for patients to breathe. Patients with severe COVID-19 who have developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and require invasive ventilation are treated. As a specialised ARDS centre, the anaesthesiological intensive care units at Klinikum Großhadern also regularly accept ARDS patients from hospitals in the region for further therapy.
Treating COVID-19 patients in ARDS centres?
In another study at the LMU Klinikum, Prof. Zwißler's team investigated whether severe COVID-19 patients benefit from treatment in a specialised ARDS centre. The result suggests that this is the case. The study showed a significantly lower mortality rate compared to Germany as a whole. The study authors therefore recommend treating critically ill COVID-19 patients in an ARDS centre as long as sufficient resources are available.
The SOLNATIDE project has received funding from the EU special H2020 program “Advancing knowledge for the clinical and public health response to the 2019-nCoV epidemic (call ID: SC1-PHE-CORONAVIRUS-2020) under the grant no. 101003595.