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Pinehurst hospital taking part in worldwide coronavirus treatment study

FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, in Pinehurst, is taking part in a new clinical trial combining Remdesivir and antibodies from pools of people who have donated plasma.

Posted Updated

Lena Tillett
, WRAL anchor/reporter
PINEHURST, N.C. — A local hospital is taking on a major role in the effort to develop a treatment for coronavirus.

FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital is participating in a new clinical trial combining Remdesivir and antibodies from pools of people who have donated plasma.

The National Institutes of Health selected the Pinehurst hospital as the first in the world to enroll a patient in the trial, which officially began last Thursday.

Trial participants will receive a one-time, high-dose infusion of antibodies, which will be given on the first day of the five-day treatment of Remdesivir, or they'll get a placebo. Then, the patient gets regular follow ups for 28 days.

It's a similar treatment plan to the one President Donald Trump received during his coronavirus diagnosis. The difference between the two treatment plans is the type of antibody.

The principal investigator the trial said Trump's outcome from the treatment was still encouraging for their plan.

"The way that it's produced is a little bit different from what we're doing, but the general idea is the same. The general idea of giving a high dose of an antibody that is directed against COVID-19 that we know neutralized the virus. That's the same premise for both treatments," explained Dr. Gretchen Arnoczy.

Researchers hope to enroll more patients at Moore Regional for the trial. The NIH is recruiting 500 in total at hospitals worldwide. The study will be conducted the United States, Mexico and 16 other countries on five continents.

"It's really important to not just work on prevention, but to work on treatment because poeple who get COVID-19, and the proportion of people who do get very sick and have to come into the hospital, we need to have better teratments to get people better," said Arnoczy.

Moore Regional Staff even got a surprise while on a conference call with the NIH this week.

"They said, 'We have one last person who's going to say something.' It was Dr. Anthony Fauci just congratulating the team on our all hard work," said Arnoczy. "It was a really big moment for the people here at FirstHealth. We were quite surprised and it was a little jumping up and down after that.

Scientists with NIH hope to have results from the study by the end of the year.

"It's really wonderful when our study participants do elect to enroll and provide some of their information and their data to help future patients," said Arnoczy. "I think that's really admirable and something to be commended.

FirstHealth has used Remdesivir to treat hospitalized coronavirus patients since May.


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