As the race to find a universal effective treatment for COVID-19 continues, one group of critical patients has been left out of clinical trials.
Here is more on how these researchers are simulating trials for pregnant women that could save both a mother and a baby.
New data from the CDC reports that pregnant women are at an increased risk of suffering severe COVID-19 illness.
“The virus enters via a receptor known as ACE2 and pregnant women it’s been shown that their lungs actually contain an abundance compared to a normal person,” said Anup Challa, Principle investigator from MADRE.
Treatment however can be tricky.
“We don’t have any existing standard of care for pregnant women with COVID-19. We don’t have a drug we can give them. We don’t have clinical trials that we can enroll them in,” said Challa.
There’s a concern that any medicine prescribed to the mother could harm the baby.
“It may be important for the patient to deliver,” said Dr. David Aronoff from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Twenty percent of pregnant women with COVID delivered prematurely compared to the national average of ten percent before the COVID-19 pandemic started.
By using electronic health records, these researchers are simulating trials for pregnant women to find the best treatment without having to deliver.
“We can use high-powered statistics, tools like machine learning to look at cases in which pregnant women have been exposed to drugs either similar to the experimental therapeutics,” said Challa.
They have used this method for other health conditions with success.
“Nifedipine, which was already believed to be safe for use in managing high blood pressure in pregnancy, may also be useful in the context of diabetes in pregnancy,” said Dr. Aronoff.
When it comes to COVID-19, any promising information can be a special delivery for both the mother and the baby.