Birmingham, June 2021 A peer-reviewed article in the prestigious British Journal of Pharmacology “The Impact of COVID-19 on Pregnancy and Therapeutic Drug Development” concludes that pregnant women with COVID-19 are at a much higher risk of poor pregnancy outcomes compared to uninfected pregnant women of similar age. The authors of this review hypothesised that COVID-19 may predispose pregnant women to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP). They further argued that COVID-19 may also increase the risk of preeclampsia in these women’s subsequent pregnancies and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases in later life. Indeed, severe COVID-19 is strongly associated with other adverse pregnancy outcome such as preterm birth, gestational diabetes, small for gestational age babies and preeclampsia compared to mild COVID-19.
This review also explored a number of clinical avenues in the management of COVID-19 and pregnancy. The authors proposed a new drug development strategy in-line with clinical trials for vaccines and treatments for the drug development community. This is an ever-evolving landscape and early knowledge for healthcare providers and drug innovators is offered to ensure benefits outweigh the risks. COVID-19 mRNA vaccine development and global vaccination offers new approaches to therapeutically tackle disorders of unmet medical needs such as preeclampsia and small for gestational age babies.
Executive Chairman of MirZyme Therapeutics, Professor Asif Ahmed who is also the Senior Adviser to the President of the University of Southampton, U.K. stated, “The last 15 months has taught us that science should drive decision making. By reviewing the published research and clinical data, we have concluded that COVID-19 adversely impacts pregnancy outcomes. If you are a woman of reproductive age and got COVID-19, you are twice as likely to get hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. This is another reason why we are committed to making every pregnancy a safe and joyous event.”
Dr Allyah Abbas-Hanif, Head of Clinical Development at MirZyme and a Member of the Paediatrics and Pregnancy Expert Group of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine said: “COVID-19 has disproportionately affected pregnant women and their infants. Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a 76% increased risk of preeclampsia. Soberingly, maternal deaths associated with COVID-19 have been noted to be 22 times higher than those in non-infected pregnant women . In this article, we present the hypothesis that COVID-19 and preeclampsia share similar underlying mechanisms that may lead to potentially devastating long term sequalae. In addition, we review the therapeutic landscape for pregnancy and COVID-19 and provide strategy to expedite drug development in pregnancy, to ensure these worrying statistics are tackled.
Note to editor:
· Over 10 million women experience preeclampsia and COVID-19 could increase the incidence of preeclampsia further leaving women to fight for their lives and for the lives of their babies. Preeclampsia is a life-threatening hypertensive disorder affecting one in twelve of 131 million annual pregnancies worldwide and causes the death of a mother or her unborn child every minute. Preeclampsia is a dangerous disorder that can shorten lives even after pregnancy by inflicting long-term health consequences on mothers such as kidney and cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia. Currently, there are no preventative therapeutics available for preeclampsia and the current global direct cost burden of preeclampsia is over $100 billion a year.
· MirZyme Therapeutics is an innovative early-stage miRNA company focused on the development and commercialisation of targeted therapeutics with companion diagnostics to prevent preeclampsia and small for gestational age babies. The company has been granted global patents for new drugs and diagnostics that detect and prevent preeclampsia during pregnancy. It is the first of its kind in the maternal drug space that has companion diagnostic to accompany its innovative drugs.
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1. Villar, J., et al., Maternal and Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality Among Pregnant Women With and Without COVID-19 Infection: The INTERCOVID Multinational Cohort Study. JAMA Pediatr, 2021.
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