Clinical trials for possible COVID-19 vaccine and treatment underway in Wilmington

Clinical trials for possible COVID-19 vaccine and treatment underway in Wilmington

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Dozens of patients in our community have been given an experimental treatment for COVID-19 that is being used by the president to help him battle his illness.

Regeneron provided President Donald Trump the antibody therapy under a compassionate use request, a way to access experimental drugs outside of a clinical trial.

More than two thousand people are enrolled in Regeneron’s clinical trials, including dozens in Wilmington.

Dr. Kevin Cannon of Wilmington Health is the physician who is running the study in partnership with PMG-Research of Wilmington.

He is also enrolling patients for a Pfizer Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial.

“To date, we’ve enrolled over 500 people here in Wilmington and it is a double blind placebo controlled study, so you have a 50-50 chance of getting a real vaccine versus placebo,” Dr. Cannon explained. “Once enrollment is complete, not only here locally but worldwide, where there are 40,000 people, the main thing that we’re looking at your safety, as well as do we produce the antibody that we want to when we have the vaccine. So, does it leave you better protected over the next 6 to 12 months from COVID and that’s really gonna be the meat of the information that’s coming out over the next several months.”

He said there is an emphasis on enrolling diverse patients in the study.

“We’re trying to do the same thing locally that you’re hearing about nationally and what we are seeing are more adversely affected communities being the Black communities or Hispanic communities, and so we want to make sure that those populations are adequately represented,” he said.

He said they will be enrolling patients in the trial for the next four to six months.

Dr. Cannon is making a donation to Nourish NC, a Wilmington non-profit that supplies food to children in need, for every person who enrolls in the clinical trial as a way to give back. So far, he has donated $10,000.

Dr. Cannon said he has also administered to patients here the Regeneron experimental antibody treatment given to the president.

“It’s a one time dose and it is a synthetic antibody that bonds to the COVID virus and decreases symptoms and decreases inflammation and decreases timelines,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for about six weeks.”

He said 40 patients have participated in the study so far in Wilmington.

Dr. Cannon called the treatment “very exciting” and is hopeful it will help patients avoid hospitalization.

To learn more or to enroll in a study, click here.

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