NEW ORLEANS — Before President Donald Trump went to the hospital, he got an IV of lab-created antibodies to fight the coronavirus in his body.
That treatment is being studied in clinical trials, and New Orleans is one of the cities where those free studies are going on. And you may qualify to join them, even if you don't have symptoms yet.
Kymberly Glazer said her family follows all safety precautions to prevent the Coronavirus. That includes masks, physical distancing and working from home. It was especially important since her husband Todd has asthma. But in August, she got a headache and congestion.
“No, I'm fine. It's just a little cold. Well, an hour later, I got my test results that I was COVID positive,” said Glazer, 38.
Her husband Todd's test was positive too. That's when she heard about a Regeneron Pharmaceutical study for an infusion of lab-created antibodies, weeks before Trump had his infusion.
“For us, we felt like it was our civic duty, first of all, to give us a chance to feel better quickly, but also to help get treatment onto the market,” said Glazer.
ENT specialist Dr. Adil Fatakia has already infused 35 local participants at Tandem Clinical Research in Marrero.
“What I have seen is quite impressive results quite quickly,” said Dr. Adil Fatakia, Principal Investigator on the study at Tandem Clinical Research. “ A perfect example is patients that come in with a loss of sense of smell that get better within 24 to 48 hours. Now that's obviously not a guarantee, but it's very powerful when I see that.”
Two-thirds of the people who qualify for the study get the real medication. One-third get a placebo. Of the people who get the real antibodies, half will get a stronger dose, the other half, a weaker dose. Neither doctors nor patients know if they are getting the antibodies.
Preliminary findings show the drug is safe and effective.
The technology behind them has been around for a while; What's new is these antibodies have been genetically tailored for this coronavirus.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to offer medicine potentially that otherwise is novel and not available to patients on the market,” said Dr. Fatakia.
The good news is that you don't have to have symptoms to take part in the study. You may qualify even if you just have a positive test or live with someone who is positive.
Tulane researchers are also working on the study.
“Consider getting involved because what we need is the data,” said Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tulane University Medical School Dr. Dahlene Fusco, a specialist in infectious diseases. “We need the data to determine the answers.”
And even though Todd and Kymberly, as well as Dr. Fatakia, don't know if they got the real medication, they say they were better within a few days.
“It's our civic duty right?,” said Kymberly Glazer. “We want, we want this to go away and if it's not going to go away, we want it to at least be treatable. And we had no negative side effects. The process was easy. You get compensated for your time.”
“What we've seen, in preliminary data from these trials, is that the viral load, the amount of virus in the nose, in patients that are receiving the drug, is decreasing,” said Dr. Fatakia. He said that makes it less contagious.
To see if you qualify, contact:
- Tandem Clinical Research
More information on the clinical trial:
More information on the pharmaceutical company and the treatment: