An international trial tested in over 300 hospitals around the world have concluded that blood thinners improve the outcome for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. 

The University of Manitoba released the conclusion of the trials in a media release on Friday.

The introduction of full-dose blood thinners for patients who had mild symptoms of the virus showed a reduced need for organ support. 

The release says that three clinical trial platforms spanning five continents in over 300 hospitals have been working together since May 2020 to urgently test whether there is a greater benefit of full doses of heparin (blood thinners) to treat adults hospitalized for non-critical COVID-19 illness compared to the lower dose typically administered to prevent blood clots in hospitalized patients.

The study was conducted on 1,300 patients who had mild symptoms, meaning they did not need to go into the ICU or be placed on mechanical ventilation. Findings showed that full doses of blood thinners were not only safe but superior to the doses normally given to prevent blood clots in hospitalized patients.

The news release also says that trial investigators are now working as fast as possible to make the full results of the study available so clinicians can make informed decisions about treating their COVID-19 patients.

In December the group announced that this dose of blood thinners was not beneficial and actually appeared to be harmful to patients who were in the ICU due to the coronavirus or on mechanical ventilation. 

"In a disease with a limited number of effective therapies, our results have the potential to define a new standard of care for moderately ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients around the world," says Ryan Zarychanski, MD, M.Sc., associate professor, hematologist and critical care physician at the University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba, Canada, and chair of the Antithrombotic Therapy to Ameliorate Complications of COVID-19 (ATTACC) platform.

The trials are supported by multiple international funding organizations including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CAN), the LifeArc Foundation, the NIH National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium and the UPMC Learning While Doing Program  (US), National Institute for Health Research (UK), National Health and Medical Research Council (AUS), Health Research Council of New Zealand,  and the PREPARE and RECOVER consortia (EU).

"Having cared for so many severely ill Covid-19 patients and witnessed the suffering involved for patients and their loved ones, it is profoundly gratifying that together we have discovered a treatment that can prevent patients from becoming severely ill and improve their recovery," says critical care physician Ewan Goligher, MD, PhD, and co-chair of the therapeutic anticoagulation domain in REMAP-CAP.