SMH among first to offer dual-action antibody treatment for COVID-19

July 29, 2020

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) has joined a multi-national trial that is testing a new dual-action antibody treatment designed to reduce the severity and potentially stop the spread of COVID-19.

Led by Manuel Gordillo, MD, medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s Infection Prevention and Control and principal investigator for the Sarasota trial, SMH became the first hospital in Florida to offer 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 for non-hospitalized patients with milder symptoms.

Sarasota Memorial is one of three hospitals in Florida and among 150 research sites in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Chile that are 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.

Earlier this year, SMH participated in a national study to assess the antiviral drug remdesivir, which has had promising results. Now that the trial has ended, however, the drug is in short supply, and SMH and other hospitals around the state are awaiting new shipments of the medication.

SMH also has been participating in a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of convalescent plasma. The study, which uses plasma donated by individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat current hospitalized patients, has also had encouraging results. To date, SMH has given the plasma to 36 patients, but is now facing a critical shortage. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the Suncoast Blood Centers to see if they qualify to donate plasma.

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