Finnish researchers looking at anti-rejection drugs for coronavirus treatment

Scientists will take blood samples from transplant patients and expose them to coronavirus to see if the drugs treatments might be effective.

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Epidemiologist testing samples / Credit: iStock

Researchers at the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District and the University of Helsinki are collaborating on a project to see whether anti-rejection drugs, used in transplant patients, could protect against Covid-19, or prevent the development of a severe form of the virus.

The team is also looking at whether a drug used to treat hepatitis C can treat coronavirus.

As part of the next stage of the research project, doctors are looking for blood samples from transplant patients for their study.

“HUS has 800 kidney transplant patients under follow-up, of whom about 150 visit the kidney outpatient clinic every month. Permission for the examination and blood samples will be requested from them” says Fernanda Ortiz, Chief Physician of the Neprology Unit at HUS Abdominal Centre.

In the study T cells donated from healthy transplant patients are exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virual infection as well as the different medicine combinations.

Early results from the study are expected in the summer.