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Exploring new treatments for patients with moderate to severe COVID-19

Milwaukee — September 08, 2023

A study explored the efficacy of the medication crizanlizumab on COVID-19 patients on organ support.


Versiti Medical Director of Hematology and Versiti Blood Research Institute Investigator Lisa Baumann Kreuziger, MD, MS, was recently published in the medical journal Circulation for her role in a study that examined how crizanlizumab, a medication often used to treat sickle cell disease, might reduce morbidity and death in patients hospitalized for COVID-19.

Study background

COVID-19 has been associated with damage to endothelial cells, or the cells that line the insides of blood vessels, leading to inflammation and clotting. Endothelial cells naturally express P-selectin, a protein produced by activated platelets, and von Willebrand factor, a protein that helps blood to clot. Both of these proteins are elevated in severe cases of COVID-19, and investigators hypothesized that crizanlizumab could help to reduce clotting in these patients and lessen the number of days patients required support of their lung function.

Study methods

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded an international platform trial that randomly assigned 422 patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 with either a single infusion of crizanlizumab plus standard care, or standard care alone.

Study results

The study was stopped after review by a data safety monitoring committee because the treatment was not found to be beneficial. Of the 421 randomized patients:

  • 163 (77%) who received crizanlizumab plus standard care did not require respiratory or cardiovascular support
  • 169 (80%) who received standard care without crizanlizumab did not require additional organ support

Ultimately, the study found that the use of crizanlizumab did not result in fewer days on organ support for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

About the expert: Lisa Baumann Kreuziger, MD, MS, is a medical director of hematology at Versiti, an investigator at Versiti Blood Research Institute, and an associate professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

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Lisa Baumann Kreuziger, MD, MS
Dr. Baumann Kreuziger is a medical director of hematology and investigator at Versiti Blood Research Institute who specializes in non-malignant hematology.
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