Scientists at the are carrying out tests for a trial of a similar experimental antibody treatment than was first given to President Trump as he began treatment for the coronavirus.
UTHealth researchers are studying the efficacy of an antibody treatment from drug maker Eli Lilly as well the first treatment of antibodies the president took, from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
Since being admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for further monitoring on Friday, specialists at the hospital opted to initiate Remdesivir therapy, according to a statement from the official presidential physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley.
“There’s been a history of using antibody’s to treat infections,” said Dr. Netanya Utay, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at UTHealth. “The results that are out so far definitely look promising, but they’re from small trials.”
“We still need to enroll a lot more patients in these studies to really determine how effective they are for decreasing time to symptom resolution and decreasing hospitalizations,” the doctor said according to local news site ABC13.
UTHealth is undertaking several trial studies for antibody therapies and treatments from different drug makers for the coronavirus, including one investigating the use of blood plasma to treat the virus.
The trial being carried out by UTHealth with drugs from Regeneron, the same company behind the experimental drug first given to Trump, is with individuals who have been exposed to coronavirus-positive patients.
“If this trial demonstrates that this treatment is effective, it could be used in various settings where exposure risk is heightened, such as health care, airlines, meatpacking factories, nursing homes, and among first responders,” said Roberto C. Arduino, MD, the study’s lead investigator at UTHealth.
Conley confirmed that Trump received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail on Thursday.
REGN-COV2, this first treatment Trump received, is still in clinical trial stage.
The company behind the treatment, Regeneron, released an update this week that early results found it reduced viral levels and improved symptoms for non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, particularly those given the 8-gram dose. The trial was based on results of a trial of 275 volunteers.
Regeneron’s REGN-COV2 is one of several possible coronavirus treatments that have received federal funding for development and manufacturing.
UTHealth is also looking for COVID-19 positive patients who have mild symptoms for an antibody treatment from Eli Lilly, according to ABC13.
“The infusion takes about an hour and then they’re monitored for about two hours after that to make sure they don’t have any adverse reactions,” said Dr. Utay.
Newsweek has contacted the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston for comment.
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