New emergency COVID-19 drug in testing phase excites South Florida doctors

MIAMI (WSVN) - The FDA is fast-tracking an experimental drug being studied at the University of Miami.

The drug, RLF 100, remains in the testing phase, but the FDA wants to make it available among patients who aren’t responding to other treatments.

COVID-19 attacks a specific cell in the lung that allows oxygen to enter the body.

Dr. Dushyantha Jayaweera of the Miller School of Medicine said, “It blocks the most dangerous effects of COVID in the body.”

UM doctors said that patients on the drug have shown signs of improvement.

Jayaweera said, “Of the people we have treated, they’ve done extremely well. They came off the ventilator.”

The FDA has asked the drug makers to submit a treatment plan to make the drug more widely available.

Dr. Jonathan Javitt, the CEO of NeuroRx, said, “We’re talking to people who have critical COVID-19, with respiratory failure. That is people whose lungs have been affected by the COVID virus, such that their lungs don’t send oxygen properly to their bodies. Then the drug will be available at every hospital.”

The development is exciting to those working the front lines of the pandemic.

Jayaweera said, “There’s physicians from intensive care, infectious disease, epidemiologists. We all come together and form teams of teams to get the job done.”

Jackson Memorial Hospital will also be participating in the blind study beginning in the next few days.

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