HOUSTON (1080 KRLD)- The majority of people who get the virus will get well without serious complications.
Some may not even show symptoms. But a small minority, about five percent, do get seriously ill and require hospitalization. That group is at risk for developing pulmonary fibrosis, which is a scarring of the lungs.
Dr. Ronald DePinho is the past president of MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is the co-founder of Houston based Tvardi Therapeutics, which is working on a drug to help such patients.
"There's hope we can manage these patients and improve their lung function, but we need those medicines that can actually reverse and block it from happening in the first place, or it does happen can reverse the process."
SARS is a cousin of Covid 19. Dr. DePinho says in the case of SARS patients back in 2003 "the disease (pulmonary fibrosis) takes hold and about a third of individuals have permanent lung disability, but it was not progressive.
In the case of Covid 19 we don't know if this is going to act similarly."
In other words, the hope is the drug Tvardi is working on could reverse the otherwise deadly disease.
Testing has been done on mice with good results. DePinho says "Now we're going to be going to the FDA to begin testing of this drug on patients who have both idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis as well as post Covid pulmonary fibrosis.
DePinho adds about half of the people who have non-Covid related or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis die within two to three years.