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TGH needs volunteers for experimental COVID-19 treatment

Posted at 5:26 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 17:39:27-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Doctors at Tampa General Hospital are on the verge of a major medical breakthrough using a cocktail of lab-grown antibodies to treat COVID-19 patients.

"I'm very excited about this," said Dr. Kami Kim.

Dr. Kim is the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine at the University of South Florida. She's also leading the local trial of the experimental treatment from the pharmaceutical company, Regeneron. It's the same treatment President Donald Trump's doctors are using on him.

"Obviously he's going to get the best care in the world," she said. "And the monoclonal antibodies are among the most promising. They have revolutionized treatment of all sorts of things like autoimmune disease, cancer and hopefully treatment of this virus."

There's just one issue, Dr. Kim said they're having trouble getting patients to sign up.

"This has been a problem nationwide, because of the anxiety about taking something experimental," she said.

They've asked over 100 patients, but only 10 have agreed to participate. Doctors say they need to get more people to participate to get an accurate reading of the treatment's effectiveness. Not having a lot of people sign up slows down the process.

Dr. Kim said the 10 people who they've used the treatment on here seem to be doing well, and they haven't had a bad reaction to the study.

"That's good for the safety part," she said. "In short term, safety has been addressed because this is an ongoing clinical trial."

According to Regeneron's website, the first 275 people who enrolled in their trial have has positive reactions to the treatment.