Local company believes experimental drug could prevent deadly COVID-19 complications

MALVERN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Researchers at a local biopharmaceutical company believe one of its experimental drugs can prevent some of the deadliest complications of COVID-19.

Many of the deaths due to COVID-19 are caused by acute respiratory distress syndrome. Basically, it's when the lungs fill up with fluid and inflammation.

And with COVID-19, for some patients, it happens very quickly. They end up in intensive care and on a ventilator, then the chances of survival can be slim. But there is new hope.

"I think we have a great drug that helps patients more or less when they start to decline rapidly," Dr. John Lee of PhaseBio said.

He is the chief medical officer at the biopharmaceutical company with offices in Malvern, Pennsylvania and San Diego.

He says their experimental drug known as PB Ten-46 has been shown to interrupt many of the pathways that lead to the massive inflammation that can cause respiratory distress.

Dr. Lee said, "We think this can really, hopefully, help transform for a lot of patients who are going down a difficult road to have a disease process that is not severe, get them home earlier, free of oxygen earlier."

The drug was originally developed to treat a rare disease and those tests are underway.

This new clinical trial will enroll about 200 COVID-19 patients at 20 to 30 medical centers.

The hope is it will help prevent and treat deadly complications.
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