It was Friday March 13 when doctors at the largest healthcare provider in New York City decided to take the search for a coronavirus drug into their own hands. Many of their Covid-19 patients were not getting better — and some were getting worse.
Two of the hospitals’ scientists each called their contacts at US biotech companies Gilead Sciences and Regeneron to offer to test their potential treatments: an antiviral called remdesivir and an anti-inflammatory called Kevzara, developed for Ebola and rheumatoid arthritis respectively. Clinicians, researchers and regulators rushed to set up the clinical trials, which usually take months, and just four days later two patients took their first doses of the experimental drugs.
“The patients were very, very sick,” says Kevin Tracey, president of the Feinstein Institute, the research arm of Northwell Health. “Everybody just rolled up their sleeves and said we’re facing a crisis and the patients need this. After30 years of doing research, it was one of the proudest days of my life to know patients were getting treated with these drugs that may help them.”
The hospital hopes the drugs will stop the replication of the virus and reduce the inflammation in the lungs of the patients.
Free to read: The world cannot afford to wait 18 months to find a coronavirus vaccine. Instead, clinical trials are focusing on drugs developed for other diseases, from Ebola to malaria and arthritis, which they hope could also treat Covid-19 https://t.co/SLOdEpvSUz
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) March 26, 2020