A randomized, open-label, adaptive, proof-of-concept clinical trial of modulation of host thromboinflammatory response in patients with COVID-19: the DAWn-Antico study
Background The peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic has not yet been reached and many countries face the prospect of a second wave of infections before effective vaccinations will be available. After an initial phase of viral replication, some patients develop a second illness phase in which the host thrombotic and inflammatory responses seems to drive complications. Severe COVID-19 disease is linked to high mortality, hyperinflammation, and a remarkably high incidence of thrombotic events. We
... ombotic events. We hypothesize a crucial pathophysiological role for the contact pathway of coagulation and the kallikrein-bradykinin pathway. Therefore, drugs that modulate this excessive thromboinflammatory response should be investigated in severe COVID-19.Methods In this adaptive, open-label multicenter randomized clinical trial we compare low molecular weight heparins at 50 IU anti-Xa/kg twice daily - or 75 IU anti-Xa twice daily for intensive care (ICU) patients - in combination with aprotinin to standard thromboprophylaxis in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. In the case of hyperinflammation, the interleukin-1-receptor antagonist anakinra will be added on top of the drugs in the interventional arm. In a pilot phase, the effect of the intervention on thrombotic markers (D-dimer) will be assessed. In the full trial, the primary outcome is defined as the effect of the interventional drugs on clinical status as defined by the WHO ordinal scale for clinical improvement. Discussion In this trial we target the thromboinflammatory response at multiple levels. We intensify the dose of low molecular weight heparins to reduce thrombotic complications. Aprotinin is a potent kallikrein pathway inhibitor that reduces fibrinolysis, activation of the contact pathway of coagulation, and local inflammatory response. Additionally, aprotinin has shown in vitro inhibitory effects on SARS-CoV-2 cellular entry. Because the excessive thromboinflammatory response is one of the most adverse prognostic factors in COVID-19, we will add anakinra, a recombinant interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, to the regimen in case of severely increased inflammatory parameters. This way, we hope to modulate the systemic response to SARS-CoV-2 and avoid disease progressions with a potentially fatal outcome. Trial registration This trial is registered in the EU Clinical Trials Register. Registration number: 2020-001739-28. Registered on 2020-04-10.