LSU Health Shreveport is testing the impact of using inhaled nitric oxide on COVID-19 patients with severely damaged lungs. Professor of Pediatrics, Surgery & Medicine Dr. Keith Scott says treatment with the gas could potentially kill coronavirus in the lungs and improve oxygen delivery to injured tissue.
“In the SARS scare we had a few years ago, it was used on a few patients and they seemed to improve and it was studied and it looked like it had some anti-viral activity,” said Scott.
The study is a collaboration with two other institutions in the US and sites in Europe. Scott says the clinical testing will be done with patients that are worse off.
“Most of these patients will be on the ventilator and have severe lung injuries so it would be a loved one who would decide if they wanted us to try this,” said Scott.
Scott says if the testing shows effective against COVID-19, using nitric oxide has already been FDA-approved for therapy with other types of respiratory failure and most hospitals already have the treatment readily available.
“It’s just really a raging phenomenon that occurs in the lung and if we can just calm that down a little bit and allow the body’s natural systems to come in an heal it, that’s the real goal,” said Scott.
Research from LSU Health Shreveport has shown that nitric oxide is a strong protector against tissue hypoxia.