Sarasota Memorial Hospital expands COVID-19 clinical trial to outpatients

With a little more than two weeks of trials under their belt, doctors at Sarasota Memorial Hospital say their dual-action antibody treatment is ready for the next phase.

“The first trial, which is the inpatient trial for people that COVID and they’re in the hospital, is going very well, it’s going better than expected in terms of recruitment at least,” said Dr. Manuel Gordillo.

Dr. Gordillo and Dr. Kirk Voelker said they’ve recruited three times the amount of patients they expected for the Regeneron pharmaceuticals’ treatment, an experimental medication that uses two specific antibodies to neutralize the virus.

“This is a new antibody that has been specifically designed to attack the spike protein which is a critical part of the coronavirus, it’s the part of the virus that attaches to the human cells,” Gordillo explained.

Over the last two weeks, Gordillo witnessed the lab-grown antibody mix to reduce the severity of the virus. Up next, is expanding the trial beyond hospitalized patients.

“Next week we’re going to expand the same trial - this is going to be for outpatients,” he said. “So outpatients that don’t need to be hospitalized could be eligible for this study, and we’re excited as well. That could start Monday or Tuesday.”

The trial’s success has been a huge relief for the hospital, which has been low on convalescent plasma, but more recently, has received more frequent shipments of remdesivir. Over the last few weeks, Governor Ron DeSantis expedited several shipments to Florida.

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“Every Monday, we get a supply for the week. So last Monday, we got 100 doses, and so far we’ve used about 67,” Gordillo said. “So we have 33 for the rest of the week.”

RELATED Sarasota Memorial Hospital is out of COVID-19 drug remdesivir, plasma from recovered patients

Between the remdesivir and their Regeneron trials, they’re moving into another week, with their head above the water in the fight against COVID-19.

“This thing is evolving rapidly, but we’re learning rapidly,” said Dr. Kirk Voelker.

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