COVID-19: Urgent Reconsideration of Lung Edema as a Preventable Outcome: Inhibition of TRPV4 As a Promising and Feasible Approach.
Lethality of Covid-19 during the 2020 pandemic, currently in the exponentially-accelerating phase in most countries, is critically driven by disruption of the alveolo-capillary barrier of the lung, leading to lung edema as a direct consequence of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We argue for inhibition of the TRPV4 calcium-permeable ion channel as a strategy to address this issue, based on the rationale that TRPV4 inhibition is protective in various preclinical models of lung edema, and that TRPV4 hyperactivation potently damages the alveolo-capillary barrier, with lethal outcome. We believe that TRPV4 inhibition has a powerful prospect at protecting this vital barrier in Covid-19 patients, even to rescue a damaged barrier. A clinical trial using a selective TRPV4 inhibitor demonstrated a benign safety profile in healthy volunteers and in patients suffering from cardiogenic lung edema. We argue for expeditious clinical testing of this inhibitor in Covid-19 patients with respiratory malfunction and at risk for lung edema. We note that among the currently pursued therapeutic strategies against Covid-19, none is designed to directly protect the alveolo-capillary barrier. Successful protection of the alveolo-capillary barrier will not only reduce Covid-19 lethality but will pre-empt a catastrophic scenario in healthcare with insufficient capacity to provide ventilator-assisted respiration.
Kuebler, W; Jordt, S-E; Liedtke, W
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