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COVID-19- and SARS-induced ARDS

AyuVis research is developing a new class of drugs to treat complicated respiratory infections such as Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia (PAP) with promising preclinical data. Both of these indications are associated with Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS or Acute RDS), which can be induced by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

How AyuVis' Target Indications Relate to COVID-19 and ARDS 


AyuVis Research, Inc., has designed and developed a series of novel small molecules which modulate the innate immune system (macrophages) and decrease hyperinflammation, minimizing lung injury , restoring lung function, and increasing survival in mouse models of ARDS.  The lead compound, AVR-48, is ready for development for the treatment of pneumonia or ARDS associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or COVID-19, both of which are caused by a coronavirus.

What is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)?

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening illness in which the lungs are severely inflamed. Swelling throughout the lungs causes tiny blood vessels to leak fluid and the air sacs (alveoli) collapse or fill with fluid, preventing the lungs from working well. Patients with ARDS have problems getting enough oxygen into their blood and getting rid of carbon dioxide, so they must be given extra oxygen and will usually need a ventilator to breathe. Despite intensive treatment, about 40% of people with ARDS die from the disease.


Ordinarily, ARDS affects about 150,000 Americans each year and there is no specific treatment available. Recently published case studies showed, the major cause of death of patients with COVID-19 was ARDS [1].


The recent Chinese outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), now a global pandemic, is an acutely resolved disease, but can be fatal (≥2%). Death appears due to massive alveolar damage and progressive respiratory failure (ARDS). [2] . See the video below to learn more about how COVID-19 leads to ARDS and then death.


Thus far, no drug has proven beneficial in the management of acute lung injury (ALI) and ARDS produced after SARS, or COVID-19.  Histological examination of lungs from patients who died of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) coronaviruses revealed extensive cellular infiltrates in the lung, predominantly macrophages [3].  The pathological features of COVID-19 resemble those seen in SARS and MERS coronavirus infections.

More Information on How COVID-19 Leads to ARDS


[1] Xu, Z., et al. (2020). "Pathological findings of COVID-19 associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome." Lancet Respir Med.

[2] Zhou, F., et al. (2020). "Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study." Lancet.

[3] Channappanavar, R. and S. Perlman (2017). "Pathogenic human coronavirus infections: causes and consequences of cytokine storm and immunopathology." Semin Immunopathol 39(5): 529-539.

Additional information on "What SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 have in Common"


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