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Versiti to Coordinate NIH Trials of Blood Thinners to Improve Care for COVID-19 Patients at Risk for Blood Clots

Wisconsin – April 29, 2021

Versiti to Coordinate NIH Trials of Blood Thinners to Improve Care for COVID-19 Patients at Risk for Blood Clots  

New Patient Care Protocols Already in Practice from Nationwide COVID-19 Clinical Trials

MILWAUKEE – April 29, 2021 – Versiti has been granted three multi-center research contracts to coordinate nationwide clinical trials aimed at establishing optimal treatment plans for preventing blood clots in people with COVID-19. The contracts were awarded to Versiti by the University of Pittsburgh with funding by National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Results of the collaborative effort of three international trials have already led to findings that may change the standard of care in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Interim results from the trials showed that full-dose anticoagulation (blood thinner) treatments given to hospitalized patients outside of the intensive care unit were shown to reduce how many people required vital organ support—such as the need for ventilation.  

Early in the pandemic, hospitals globally observed the potential of increased rate of blood clots among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. It was unclear at that time whether providing patients increased doses of blood thinners would be safe and effectively decrease the progression of COVID-19 illness.

Versiti Medical Director of Hematology, BRI Associate Investigator, and Medical Director of the Clinical Trials and Research Office Dr. Lisa Baumann Kreuziger MD, MS, is named as the Research Director to coordinate one of networks involved in the trials. 

“Having the opportunity to coordinate and participate in research that is already being put into practice to help people suffering from COVID-19 is an honor,” said Dr. Baumann Kreuziger. “Research conducted at this incredible pace with an unprecedented level of multi-center coordination across disciplines is not only making a positive impact on COVID-19 patient care, it is setting the tone for future research projects.” 

Dr. Baumann Kreuziger is co-founder of the Venous thromboEmbolism Network U.S. (VENUS), working with other institutions across the country to perform clinical research about blood clots.

These research projects are known as Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines-4 (ACTIV-4) Antithrombotics, which is managed by the NIH and evaluates the effectiveness of anti-platelets (e.g., aspirin or Plavix), anti-coagulants (e.g., Heparin) in progression of COVID-19 and prevention of blood clots. ACTIV brings together multiple partners from government, industry, academia and non-profit organizations. 

Versiti, as the coordinating center for VENUS, is organizing three ACTIV-4 studies:

  • ACTIV-4A involves patients hospitalized for COVID-19
  • ACTIV-4B involves patients who test positive for COVID-19 but are not hospitalized
  • ACTIV-4C involves patients with COVID-19 who are going home from the hospital

Funding from the NIH totals approximately $5 million to support Versiti’s and the clinical trial sites’ efforts to perform the multi-center trials.

Versiti is also participating as a coordinating center and trial site for the Rapid COVID COAG Study and is now the fifth-highest enrolling site in the world.

The Rapid COVID COAG Study is led by Dr. Michelle Sholzberg and Dr. Peter Juni (both of St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada) and Dr. Mary Cushman (University of Vermont). Dr. Lisa Baumann Kreuziger is a member of the RAPID trial’s steering committee. They also are involved with the protocol development for the ACTIV-4 trials: Dr. Cushman on ACTIV 4A; Dr. Sholzberg on 4B; and Dr. Baumann Kreuziger on 4C.

About Versiti

Versiti, a national leader in blood health innovation, was formed with the mission to improve the health of patients and enable the success of our health care partners nationally. We provide innovative, value-added solutions in the fields of transfusion medicine, transplantation, and blood-related diseases to meet the needs of each of our customers. The collective efforts across Versiti result in improved patient outcomes, expanded access to care and cost efficiencies for health care systems nationwide. For more information, visit versiti.org.

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