Sarasota Memorial Hospital offering experimental COVID-19 treatment

Sarasota Memorial Hospital offering experimental COVID-19 treatment

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota Memorial Hospital announced Friday that it has joined a multi-national trial for a COVID-19 treatment.

The drug is a new dual-action antibody treatment designed to reduce the severity and potentially stop the spread of COVID-19. On Thursday, the hospital began administering Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ experimental treatment (REGN-COV2) to COVID-19 patients who meet the study criteria. The trial initially is open to hospitalized patients, but it could be expanded as early as next week for non-hospitalized patients with milder symptoms.

The study is led by Manuel Gordillo, MD, medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s Infection Prevention and Control.

“We’re very excited about this trial, which involves the first antiviral antibody cocktail specifically designed to attack a critical part of the coronavirus, the spike protein that attaches to human cells,” said Dr. Gordillo. “In early laboratory tests, it completely obliterated the coronavirus at relatively low concentrations.”

Sarasota Memorial is one of three hospitals in Florida and among 150 research sites in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Chile participating in Phase 2/3 trials, which follow positive results demonstrated in a Phase 1 safety trial.

A separate trial to evaluate the antiviral antibody cocktail’s ability to prevent infection among uninfected people who have had close exposure to a COVID-19 patient (such as a patient’s housemate) also will soon be under way.

The hospital has also been participating in a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of convalescent plasma.

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