Special to the Press-Tribune
The Regeneron Experimental Antibody Treatment (REGN-COV2) administered to the president after he tested positive for COVID-19 is being studied as part of clinical trials for treatment of the virus by Willis-Knighton Physician Network Clinical Research in Shreveport.
REGN-COV2, a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (REGN10933 and REGN10987), was designed specifically to block infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This monoclonal antibody cocktail has been administered to 61 patients participating in the study through Willis-Knighton.
Dr. Joseph A. Bocchini, Jr., an infectious disease specialist, is principal investigator on the study at Willis-Knighton. He is assisted by family medicine specialists Dr. Clint Wilson and Dr. Jason Milligan. The study is directed to outpatients who have tested positive, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic. Each receives a single infusion.
“Two-thirds of the people participating have a chance of getting the drug to determine its efficacy in modifying the course of the infection,” Dr. Bocchini says. One third receive a high dose of the medication, one third a lower dose, and the final third, a placebo. “Preliminary data from the first 275 patients enrolled in the trial of nonhospitalized patients show a significant reduction in the amount of virus found in persons who received the monoclonal antibody and shortened the time they had symptoms. More data are needed to determine how effective the treatment may be,” he adds.
The study at Willis-Knighton is still enrolling patients. Anyone who has recently tested positive is invited to call the Willis-Knighton Clinical Research at (318) 455-9730 for information.
A news release from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals today reports, “More than 2,000 people have been enrolled across the overall REGN-COV2 development program to date, and no unexpected safety findings have been reported by the Independent Data Monitoring Committee.”
REGN-COV2 has been cited by experts as one of the most promising treatments being studied to combat COVID-19. News reports have indicated that the president also received remdesivir, another medication in the COVID-19 treatment arsenal at Willis-Knighton.
“Very few nonacademic institutions offer the volume of emerging treatments under study that are available to COVID-19 patients cared for at Willis-Knighton,” says Carrie Kay, RN, CCRC, clinical research director for the Willis-Knighton Physician Network. “It is truly rewarding to participate in research studies which can make a difference for patients at Willis-Knighton and potentially bring a new therapy to those affected by COVID-19.”