HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Along with a vaccine, there’s something else that could provide help and hope for those infected with the coronavirus.
It’s a treatment that’s showing a lot of promise, and clinical trials for it are being conducted in Elixia’s laboratory in Hollywood.
“I was scared. I was definitely scared. I don’t wish it to anybody,” said 38-year-old Mario Schauer.
Mario is HIV positive, so last week, he was worried after testing positive for COVID-19.
“The next day I developed a lot of symptoms. My fever went high, up to 101,” Schauer said.
Luis Martinez, 62, and his wife also tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but only Martinez started to develop more startling symptoms.
“I had a fever, I was coughing a lot,” Martinez said. “I had no taste, no smell.”
This past Friday, both men were given Bamlanivimab. It’s a long name, but the concept of how this drug developed by Eli Lilly works is simple.
It’s a synthetic anti-body that jump starts the immune system of someone infected with the coronavirus.
“Incredibly, that same day, four hours later after I got the trial, I regained my sense of taste. That was shocking for me,” Schauer said.
“It was like day and night,” Martinez said. “I was feeling much better. The fever had gone away.”
Both men received the drug as part of a trial run by Neal Patel, who runs the clinical research company Elixia.
“From what we have seen so far, the patients are doing very well,” Patel said.
Inside the company’s Hollywood lab, the drug is put into IVs, and then those with COVID-19 taking part of the trial receive the transfusion inside a bus outside of the lab.
“The whole purpose of this is trying to capture patients in the outpatient setting still that are mild to moderate to help make sure they don’t end up as severe COVID-19 and eventually end up in the hospital,” Patel said.
Eli Lilly already has an order from the federal government of nearly a million doses, and last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of the drug.
Eli Lilly’s CEO David Ricks said in a statement, “Given the significant increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the U.S., we are doing everything possible to quickly provide more Bamlanivimab doses to Americans…”
“It’s a good thing. It’s a good thing,” Martinez said.
Without the drug, Martinez could have ended up in the hospital, and the same goes for Schauer.
“I know feeling like a guinea pig is not the best sensation, but if you can be a hero right now by collaborating with all these tests and sample and trials that they’re doing, please do so,” Schauer said.
Because the federal government is buying up the supply, those who get this medication will not have to pay for the medication.
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