Experimental antibody treatment in clinical trials at Duke University similar to one President Trump received
Posted October 5, 2020 8:36 p.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2020 11:50 p.m. EDT
Right now, scientists are calling the treatment LY-CoV55. It's administered intravenously and designed to shut down any virus floating around in a patient's body and prevent it from spreading.
The drug is still in its early stages, but Duke researchers said they've seen promising results from patients battling coronavirus.
"We hope that it sort of slows down the progression of the disease and halts the virus in its tracks so the patient can clean up the mess that the virus already made and avoid having ongoing infectious issues," explained Dr. Christine Barkauskas, an assistant professor in the department of medicine at Duke.
Barkauskas said 58 patients are enrolled to participate in clinical trials at Duke to see how this new breakthrough works.
Researchers said the antibody treatment functions similar to an experimental antibody drug cocktail made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. that Trump received last week.
Although Trump said he felt better "than I did 20 years ago," Barkaukas said that wasn’t a typical side-effect to the antibody treatment.
"Most of the patients we've treated will start to feel better with time," said Barkaukas. "I can't say we've seen that it's a magic elixir that makes you feel rejuvenated instantly."
She added that everybody responds to treatments different.
Jonathan Pannaman went to a baby shower for his daughter on Sep. 5, but later in the day he started having coronavirus symptoms.
"That evening, after the shower, I started to develop symptoms. I had a 104-degree fever, couldn't sleep, couldn't breathe," he described.
Pannaman went to the hospital the next day to get tested for coronavirus.
After receiving a positive result, he said his symptoms kept getting worse throughout the week. That's when doctors approached him about participating in a clinical trail at Duke for an experimental treatment.
"At that point, I was willing to do whatever it took to get this out of me," said Pannaman.
Pannaman said it made the difference in his recovery.
"The outcome is certainly worth the risk, and the risk seemed very minimal," he added/
For now, the treatment is limited to patients in the hospital battling coronavirus, but researchers said they hope to move it to a different trial where people coming out of the hospital can take it.