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UW Medicine, Fred Hutch test experimental antibody treatment used on Trump for COVID-19

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies was used to treat President Donald Trump for COVID-19.

SEATTLE — Researchers at UW Medicine are partnering with the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center to lead a study of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ antibody cocktail as a way to prevent COVID-19 infections. 

The researchers are currently recruiting patients for the study. 

The same experimental Regeneron Pharmaceuticals cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies was used to lower the level of the COViD-19 virus in President Donald Trump after he became infected.

“It’s the same antibody cocktail, that can be used for both prevention and treatment,” said Dr. Ruanne Barnabas, co-principal investigator and associate professor of Global Health and Allergy and Infectious Diseases at University of Washington School of Medicine. “But trials for both prevention and treatment are ongoing.”

The trial, which also includes 100 additional sites and plans to recruit 2,000 patients, is focused on helping people stay healthy after a close member in their own household becomes sick with COVID-19. The antibody cocktail is called REGN-COV2.

If that’s the case, why not use this antibody in lieu of vaccines, a number of which are in the final trial phases? 

Dr. Barnabas said, “These antibodies last for a short time, for a number of weeks. But a vaccine will teach our bodies to make these antibodies that will last for years. That’s the plan.”

The presumption is someone given the cocktail would have enough antibodies immediately to last long enough to get through their housemates infection.

“Monoclonal antibodies could help us achieve and end to the pandemic,” said Dr. Shelly Karuna with Fred Hutch in a statement. 

People wanting to participate in the study must have a confirmed household member test positive for COVID-19 to qualify. To learn more about getting involved call (206) 773-7129 or visit the UW Medicine website. 

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Fred Hutch opens dedicated research center in Seattle to test treatments for COVID-19 patients

The COVID-19 Clinical Research Center, foreground, in the Minor Building on Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Seattle campus. (Fred Hutch Photo)

Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is opening a new facility dedicated to testing treatments for people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Clinical Research Center, or CCRC is one of the first stand-alone facilities in the country designed for such work, according to Fred Hutch announcement on Monday. Located in the Minor Building on Fred Hutch’s South Lake Union campus, it was funded by philanthropic donations and public/private partnerships.

Scientists and clinicians will partner in the space with study volunteers, health care providers, research institutes, foundations and the biotech/pharmaceutical industry on Phase 1 through 3 clinical trials (observational and interventional) for COVID-19-positive participants.

Two studies are already underway:

  • A Phase 3 randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of remdesivir (GS-5734TM) treatment of individuals with COVID-19 who are not ill enough to be hospitalized. Infectious disease doctors at Fred Hutch and the University of Washington School of Medicine are testing whether remdesivir can reduce symptoms and the need for hospitalization in individuals with early stage COVID-19.
  • A Phase 2/3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial examining REGN-COV2, Regeneron’s investigational double antibody cocktail, in non-hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In this study, which is for people diagnosed with COVID-19 with or without symptoms of the disease, researchers at Fred Hutch and UW Medicine will further test REGN-COV2 and help determine whether it can provide immediate antiviral activity, lasting several weeks.

Fred Hutch says multiple measures are in place to address the safety of study participants and those who are on-site, including air circulation that meets or exceeds standards in medical facilities; separate entry/exits and restrooms for study volunteers with known or potential COVID-19; restricted and secure access to the facility to prevent unauthorized/accidental access; appropriate personal protective equipment for all staff and participants; extensive cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

The facility can be used in the future to test and treat participants with other infectious diseases, Fred Hutch said.

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