HOUSTON - Local researchers are learning more about an experimental drug that’s being used to treat President Trump for COVID-19.
The experimental drug is an antibody infusion treatment by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The treatment is currently in phase 3 of clinical trials in nearly 100 sites nationwide, including Texas.
Akshay Verma is the lead research coordinator for Crossroads Clinical Research who's conducting one of Regeneron's clinical trials to patients in Victoria and Corpus Christi.
US President Donald Trump holds a face mask as he speaks during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP v
"We know it works. We see these antibody infusion treatments works for people who have cancer, people who have other illnesses. So we know it works. We're just wanting to see the amount of dosage that’s needed," Verma said.
The trial rose to national prominence when President Trump was administered Regeneron's antibody cocktail’ after testing positive for Covid-19 and hospitalized.
In an interview with Fox News, Regeneron’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr George Yancopoulos says their approach can dramatically lower a person's viral levels in just a matter of days.
"Patients that have the highest viral levels, who are at the highest risk presumably, in a few days with our cocktail, we can lower those viral levels by about 99% which is really important because it’s all about beating the virus. So we’re just helping the natural immune system by supplementing it with this antibody cocktail," said Dr. Yancopoulos.
The treatment is administered through an IV process and takes just about an hour. Verma says after a post-dose and a few follow up appointments, a patient’s results can be quite dramatic.
"The first day, it's interesting to see them have sore throat, headache, lost of smell, lost taste. And by day three, that headache's gone, that fatigue is gone. That sore throat is gone. And by day 11, it's all gone," said Verma.
Verma adds that Crossroads is also conducting two other similar antibody infusion clinical trials, which are also seeing promising outcomes for prevention and treatment.
"One is from Eli Lilly and that's a monoclonal antibody infusion treatment trial. What that is, is that's the first people who had COVID-19, they develop antibodies and were able to take those antibodies and infuse it into people who are currently COVID-19 positive. The other is also from Regeneron and is for preventative measures for individuals who are currently living with someone who is COVID-19 positive. They're administered subcutaneous shots," Verma said.