CHICAGO (CBS) — In the battle against COVID-19, the University of Illinois at Chicago has received $6 million from the federal government to test a potential drug to treat severe complications from infections with the coronavirus.
The university noted that severe cases of COVID-19 can result in complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, in which fluid from the bloodstream leaks into the lungs and causes difficulty breathing. It lead to a serious infection, which in turn can lead to an immune overreaction called a cytokine storm that can further damage the lungs.READ MORE: Officer Struck By Car While Directing Traffic In South Loop, 2 In Custody
These complications often put people on ventilators and are thought to contribute to the death of COVID-19 patients. ARDS has a mortality rate of about 50 percent, and there are no treatments for ARDS or cytokine storms.READ MORE: Some Illinois Schools Gave More Failing Grades After COVID Began
The new funds are being used to test a drug called VT-109, which has been shown to help restore function to damaged lungs and reduce cytokine levels in animal tests.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Full Sun Thursday
Researchers hope the testing will one day lead to clinical trials in humans, but say that could take three or four more years.