EDINBURG, Texas — DHR Health Institute for Research and Development has been approved to begin administering RLF-100 (Aviptadil) for respiratory failure in patients with COVID-19 at DHR Health. Aviptadil has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Expanded Access Protocol to be used for treating patients with critical COVID-19 infection who have respiratory failure.

The drug is a synthetic form of human Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide and is shown to block binding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the cause of COVID-19) to human lung cells, and in preventing synthesis and release of cytokines in the lungs. In previous studies, patients with COVID-19 with respiratory failure who have been treated with Aviptadil have shown positive outcomes.

“By protecting the epithelial cells in the lungs, Aviptadil will reduce the damage caused by SARS-CoV-2,” said Adolfo Kaplan, MD, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at DHR Health, who is the principal investigator of this study. “At DHR Health, we have already initiated treatment with Aviptadil in patients with COVID-19 who have been diagnosed with severe respiratory failure and are currently following their clinical outcome”.

Patients who may benefit from this drug will be evaluated by their treating physician to determine their eligibility to receive Aviptadil under the Expanded Access Protocol. All patients will be consented either personally or through their legally authorized representative before receiving treatment. Once they have consented, treatment will take place via intravenous infusion over the course of three days. 

“We have very few options available to treat patients with COVID-19 who have respiratory failure,” said Sohail Rao, MD, MA, DPhil, President and Chief Executive Officer, DHR Health Institute for Research and Development. “In addition to convalescent plasma and Remdesivir, Aviptadil will give us yet another options to treat patients where standard of care may not have yielded the desired clinical outcome.”