May 11th, 2020 – Hatter Cardiovascular Institute and COVID-19 Research

The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute has recently been given HRA approval to undertake a new study in COVID-19 investigating the potential for Remote Conditioning to reduce the severity of anti-inflammatory cytokines which are responsible the so-called cytokine “storm” that occurs in COVID-19 patients. The study, titled ‘Can Remote Ischaemic Conditioning Reduce Inflammatory Markers in COVID-19 Patients – A   Randomised Pilot Study,’ has been approved as part of the fast-track review scheme provided through UCLH and the National Research Ethics Boards to expedite important COVID-19 research.

Over the past 2 years, The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute has been investigating the role of the inflammatory system as a cause of significant injury during acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke. Importantly our research into methods of alleviating this inflammatory response are similar to events that we see in the early stages of the COVID-19 disease, i.e. the cellular mechanisms are similar to those seen in patients with sepsis. The phenomenon known as “Remote Ischemic Conditioning”, which is a simple non-invasive procedure, has been shown to prevent cellular injury including those associated with sepsis. Therefore, based on the evidence from studies investigating sepsis, it is anticipated that the same benefit would be seen in patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Developing new methods to reduce the heightened inflammatory response is essential to halting progression of COVID-19 in patients and reducing the severity of damage. The aim of this study is to halt, or at least attenuate, the disease process before patients enter the intensive care units when the situation changes dramatically and may be too late.