Researchers begin clinical trials examining blood thinners as coronavirus treatment

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U.S. researchers are beginning two clinical trials examining the use of blood thinners to treat COVID-19, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced Thursday.

One study will focus on people who were hospitalized for COVID-19 and the other will focus on those who were infected, but not hospitalized.

The studies are funded through President Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed,” which seeks to accelerate COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

A third study that will start at a later date will test blood thinners on people who have recovered and no longer test positive for the coronavirus to see if it affects their chances of developing blood clots after recovery. 

NIH officials told reporters in a conference call Thursday that they anticipate the studies will be completed within “months not years,” Bloomberg reported.

Doctors have used anticoagulants in various ways in the past, but the studies will give them “a clear sense what is the most beneficial way” to use the drug, according to NIH. 

“There is currently no standard of care for anticoagulation in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and there is a desperate need for clinical evidence to guide practice,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement. “Conducting trials using multiple existing networks of research sites provides the scale and speed that will get us answers faster.”

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