Health and Medicine

Miller School pulmonologist treats COVID-19 patient with nitric oxide therapy

A medical specialist with the University of Miami Health System and the Miller School of Medicine has initiated a new therapy for the first time in a patient with the novel coronavirus diagnosis. The treatment has the potential to delay the need for a ventilator.
The INOpulse inhaled nitric oxide system (iNO)

Roger Alvarez, assistant professor of pulmonology, began treating his patient on March 26 using the INOpulse inhaled nitric oxide system (iNO). “INOpulse has the potential to be used as a viable treatment option for COVID-19, based on previous studies that demonstrate the benefits of iNO in oxygenation and immune response,” said Alvarez, who, in addition to his clinical practice, conducts basic, clinical, and translational research in pulmonary hypertension. He  has done extensive research on using nitric oxide treatment for pulmonary conditions.

“The cardiopulmonary benefit demonstrated by INOpulse in various indications provides the potential to prevent deterioration in patients with COVID-19, allowing ventilators to be preserved for the most critically ill,” Alvarez said. “INOpulse’s ease of administration could significantly decrease the burden on therapists and nurses as they combat this pandemic with constrained resources.”

The iNOpulse comes from Bellerophon Therapeutics, Inc., which was recently granted emergency expanded access by the United States Food and Drug Administration for treating COVID-19 patients. Bellerophon is a clinical stage biotherapeutics company focused on developing treatments for cardiopulmonary diseases. Past studies have shown that nitric oxide treatments benefited patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome in the coronavirus SARS-CoV outbreak of 2003-04, and there are extensive genetic similarities with the COVID-19, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

“We believe the first patient with COVID-19 to start treatment with INOpulse could be a critical step in the fight against this pandemic due to the therapy’s potential to halt disease progression and reduce the need for ventilation support,” said Fabian Tenenbaum, CEO of Bellerophon Therapeutics. “Moreover, INOpulse’s ability to treat patients in the outpatient setting could help alleviate the mounting impact on the capacity of hospitals and intensive care units. We will continue to collaborate with the FDA and will work diligently to make INOpulse available to more patients at more sites around the U.S. as expeditiously as possible.”