LONG BEACH, Calif., September 15, 2020 – MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center has announced its participation in two multi-national clinical trials testing the effectiveness and safety of two different anti-viral treatments designed to reduce the severity and potentially stop the spread of COVID-19 in both hospitalized and ambulatory patients.
MemorialCare’s research team, led by pulmonary and critical care medicine specialist and Principal Investigator Jimmy Johannes, M.D., is studying a combination of two monoclonal antibodies developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. These antibodies are designed to target the “spike” protein of SARS-CoV2, which is the part of the virus that attaches to and infects healthy human cells, and potentially block the virus from attacking healthy cells – stopping the virus from replicating and spreading infection. The use of monoclonal antibodies as an anti-viral has been shown to be effective in treating Ebola.
“One of the most important ways our immune system fights infections from viruses is by making antibodies against the virus. Because of this, the use of monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV2 is considered to be a very promising approach for treating COVID-19,” explains Dr. Johannes. “Antibody treatments are a proven treatment approach with a strong history of safety and tolerability. We use monoclonal antibodies to treat conditions like autoimmune diseases, various cancers, and asthma. Nevertheless, despite our optimism for the efficacy and safety of monoclonal antibodies to treat COVID-19, it is imperative that we prove that this approach is truly effective and safe with these randomized controlled trials.”
Dr. Johannes and his team are excited to be able to offer these clinical trials to Long Beach and the nearby Los Angeles and Orange County communities. Long Beach Medical Center recently participated in the expanded access studies of the drug Remdesivir and convalescent plasma. The Food and Drug Administration recently provided Emergency Use Authorization of these two treatments for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
“A safe and effective vaccine is going to be crucial for overcoming this pandemic. We hope that a vaccine will be available by the first half of 2021, but evaluating vaccine safety and efficacy requires time and large high quality clinical trials,” added Dr. Johannes. “Because a safe and effective vaccine is by no means a guarantee and may take longer than expected to develop and distribute, it is important that we also find effective treatments for COVID-19. If it is found to be effective, monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19 may serve as a bridge to widespread vaccination against SARS-CoV2.”
About MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center
MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center has been providing the community with compassionate, quality health care for more than 100 years. While leading in specialized care, research and education, Long Beach Medical Center uses the most advanced health care technologies – it is the only hospital in L.A. County with the innovative ExactechGPS® and ExcelsiusGPS® surgical systems. Long Beach Medical Center is ranked no. 7 in the Los Angeles Metro Area by U.S. News & World Report and has earned Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. With leading centers for cancer, heart, rehabilitation, orthopedics, neurology and trauma, physicians and surrounding hospitals continually refer to its accredited programs. For more information, visit memorialcare.org/LongBeach.