The University of Cincinnati is one of 20 sites across the country that is participating in Phase 2 trials for the drug razuprotafib. The drug is currently used to improve blood vessel health in patients with diabetes and renal disease, but doctors are researching its efficacy on blood vessels in COVID-19 patients.

The illness caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe blood vessel damage to those heavily impacted by the disease. The vessels in the lungs, heart and kidneys face long-term impact from COVID-19. Researchers are hoping that razuprotafib can improve the health of the blood vessels, which will limit damage done to organs.

“COVID-19 enters the body through the nose and back of the mouth and then travels to the upper and lower respiratory tracts,” said Richard Becker, MD, a UC Health cardiologist and director of the UC Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute, in a release. “In serious cases, the virus causes inflammation in the blood vessels of the lungs.”