The University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have started recruiting patients for a new study on the Regeneron antibody treatment, an experimental drug that President Donald Trump was recently administered in his own fight against the novel coronavirus.
The antibody cocktail, called REGN-COV2, is meant to mimic the body’s response to infection and may serve as a treatment for early and less serve cases until a vaccine is found.
So far, Phase 1 trials have shown positive trends of reducing viral loads and time to alleviate symptoms of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized patients. It has also been shown to reduce medical visits.
“As the globe surpasses 1 million reported deaths from COVID-19, it is clear that we need better tools to fight this infection,” said co-investigator Dr. Shelly Karuna with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network at Fred Hutch. “Monoclonal antibodies could help us achieve an end to the pandemic.”
The new trial will focus on whether the antibody can prevent COVID-19 in uninfected people who have had close exposure to the virus from a family member or housemate. The study is recruiting 2,000 patients across 100 sites to participate.
“Monoclonal antibodies are very promising,” said co-principal investigator Dr. Ruanne Barnabas, associate professor of global health and allergy and infectious diseases at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
The antibody cocktail was given to President Trump last week along with Gilead’s remdesivir, another drug currently being studied by Fred Hutch to treat COVID-19, and heavy steroid dexamethasone. Afterwards, Trump said he would make the treatment free.
“I want to get for you what I got. And I’m going to make it free,” Trump told viewers in a video he tweeted. “It’s a cure.”
Fred Hutch recently opened a new COVID-19 research clinic in South Lake Union, one of the first standalone facilities in the country dedicated to studying treatments for COVID-19.
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