PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A doctor in the Valley is part of a national study to see if an investigational treatment can help people with coronavirus breathe.
A big concern during the pandemic has been access to life-saving resources and the researchers want to see if this therapy can keep patients off ventilators. Dr. Thomas Ardiles is an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. He’s also pulmonary and critical care physician at Banner University Medical Center.
Dr. Ardiles has been treating COVID-19 patients with something called the INOpulse system. It’s a portable device that provides inhaled nitric oxide. The idea is to stop the progression of the virus in people with moderate symptoms who need oxygen.
“The iNO is a gas that we deliver with oxygen to the lungs,” Dr. Ardiles said. “And it has the ability to get very deep into the lungs to the very place where the virus is. And the simple way to say it is the virus just does not like the iNO presence.”
The therapy is being tested across the country and is produced by the company Bellerophon Therapeutics. Doctors across the country have already treated more than 50 patients with coronavirus with the INOpulse system. Dr. Ardiles says it has made improvements, but it's important to keep in mind that it is considered experimental.
They are giving it to patients to see if it improves oxygen and to see if it changes the "clinical course," Dr. Ardiles said.
"The results are very good," he said. "Very few patients needed to be on a ventilator, which I consider a significant success."
“The deeper studying may show that, there may be or may not be a true anti-viral property,” Dr. Ardiles said. “Which it seems to be a big point of battle, right? We hear about hydroxychloroquine, and nothing has panned out as a cure.”
Dr. Ardiles says he is blessed to be involved in the research and it may be a few more weeks before a mass clinical trial begins.