COVID-19 affects not only lung and respiratory tissue but can injure your heart as well. One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 78% of recently recovered COVID-19 patients had evidence of cardiac inflammation.
Now, researchers at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, working closely with Resverlogix scientists, believe they may have found a way to prevent this heart damage. The group, led by Professor James Hudson, studied the effects of COVID-19 on cardiac organoids – tiny pieces of tissue that simulate the human heart.
The effort uncovered an important role played by BET proteins in driving the inflammation and cytokine storms that are ultimately responsible for COVID-19 related heart damage. Apabetalone treatment decreased inflammation in the cardiac organoids, reversed the cytokine storm response, reduced viral infection, and prevented tissue damage.
The results of this study have recently been published in Cell, a prestigious scientific journal.
“It looks like we can reverse that response once it’s already there,” said Professor Hudson to 9News Queensland. “Our hope would be that we prevent any potential downstream consequences in long-COVID that may shorten people’s lives.”
Plans are underway to begin an open-label clinical trial to test apabetalone’s safety and efficacy in treating COVID-19. “If a patient has COVID-19, and if they take the drug, we believe that multiple organs would be protected,” said Dr. Ewelina Kulikowski, Senior Vice President, Research and Development at Resverlogix in an interview with CTV News Calgary.