Blood-thinning drugs can help save lives of COVID-19 patients: UK doctors

Blood-thinning drugs can help save the lives of patients suffering from COVID-19, British doctors have discovered after finding a clear link between the disease and blood clotting. (File/AP)
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Updated 17 May 2020

Blood-thinning drugs can help save lives of COVID-19 patients: UK doctors

  • Doctors believe that using anticoagulants carefully can eventually save patients from dying of COVID-19
  • “It does sort of explain the rather extraordinary clinical picture that is being observed with people becoming very hypoxic, very low on oxygen,” Prof Openshaw said

LONDON: Blood-thinning drugs can help save the lives of patients suffering from COVID-19, British doctors have discovered after finding a clear link between the disease and blood clotting.  
Specialists at the Royal Brompton Hospital’s severe respiratory failure service used hi-tech CT scans to take images of lung function in patients most seriously affected by the disease, the hospital’s website reported.  
They found that all patients tested suffered a lack of blood flow, which suggested they had clotting within the small vessels in their lungs. 
The clinical team at the hospital told the Sunday Telegraph that this “partly explains why some patients are dying of lung failure through lack of oxygen in the blood.”
Doctors believe that using anticoagulants carefully can eventually save patients from dying of the disease, but that testing will have to be rigorous and careful as the drugs can also have serious consequences. Treatment would also have to start “very early” to prevent clots forming, the website added.  
“These are very unwell patients, but I think the majority of patients will end up on significant therapeutic doses of blood-thinning agents as we learn more about this disease,” said Dr. Brijesh Patel, senior intensivist and clinical senior lecturer at Royal Brompton and Imperial College, London. “If these interventions in the blood are implemented appropriately, they will save lives.”
Prof. Peter Openshaw, a specialist in experimental medicine at Imperial College and honorary physician at St. Mary’s Hospital, expressed optimism over the discovery at the Royal Brompton Hospital.
“It does sort of explain the rather extraordinary clinical picture that is being observed with people becoming very hypoxic, very low on oxygen and not really being particularly breathless,” he said. “That would fit with it having a blood vessel origin.”
Meanwhile, a former World Health Organization (WHO) director on Saturday said COVID-19 could “burn out naturally before any vaccine is developed.”
Prof. Karol Sikora, an oncologist and chief medical officer at Rutherford Health, tweeted that he thinks the UK population has “more immunity than estimated,” and the virus could “be petering out by itself.” Sikora said a “roughly similar pattern” could be seen everywhere.


Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

Updated 10 July 2020

Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

  • Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018
  • Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s attorney general said Friday that two men had confessed to killing a popular singer from the Oromo ethnic group as part of a plot to topple Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018.
His shooting death last week sparked days of protests and ethnic violence that killed 239 people, according to police figures.
“The assassination was intended to be a cover to take power from the incumbent by force,” attorney general Abebech Abbebe said in a statement Friday aired on state television, without providing details.
Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office, a complaint echoed by many protesters last week.
Abebech said that along with the two men who have allegedly confessed to the crime, the government has identified a third suspect who remains on the run.
One of the men in custody identified the masterminds of the alleged plot as members of a rebel group the government believes is affiliated with the opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) political party, Abebech said.
The OLF, a former rebel movement, returned to Ethiopia from exile after Abiy took office and has repeatedly disavowed any links to armed insurgents.
The Internet remained shut off Friday for an 11th consecutive day, though Addis Ababa remains calm and Abiy’s office issued a statement saying the surrounding Oromia region had “returned to calm and citizens have resumed normal activities.”
In her statement, however, Abebech said unnamed agitators were calling for additional protests and road blockages in the coming days.
“There are those that have hidden themselves in nice places but are calling on Ethiopian youth to fight each other, close roads and to cease working as part of a rebellion call,” Abebech said.
“Above all we call on our people to disobey this rebellion call and to thwart it.”