Scientists working on fibrosis breakthrough

A depiction of the COVID-19 virus

ARU scientists testing drug combinations to reduce complications in COVID-19 patients

A team of scientists are investigating drug combinations in a bid to prevent fibrosis in the lungs, heart and kidneys that may cause irreversible damage in some COVID-19 patients.

The work, which has been highlighted by the BBC, is being carried out by scientists from the Medical Technology Research Centre (MTRC) laboratory at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), who made a significant breakthrough in the treatment of fibrotic diseases in 2018.

This issue among COVID-19 patients has meant tens of thousands of people have been recalled to hospital, with NHS England opening specialist rehabilitation centres.

Professor Selim Cellek, Director of the MTRC at ARU, said:

“Fibrosis is an irreversible condition and, in some cases, can be progressive and can affect any tissue or organ in our body. Therefore it is crucial to develop new drugs that can prevent formation of fibrosis, potentially saving lives, preventing disability and saving the NHS a significant amount of money during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

MTRC researchers are also working on new treatments to reduce skin scarring following burns – research published in The Lancet found that hospital admissions for burns and scalds have soared since lockdown was introduced in March – and ARU’s Professor of Molecular Medicine, Stephen Bustin, is working on speeding up testing for the virus.

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