First 3 Long Beach Memorial patients enrolled in clinical trial to test coronavirus treatment

Long Beach Medical Center has enrolled its first three COVID-19 patients in a clinical study using the antiviral medication remdesivir, one of a handful of prominent drugs currently being tested as treatment for the coronavirus.

The study is headed by the research-based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, which previously developed the medication to treat Ebola.

Hospital officials called the drug “promising” in treating critically ill COVID-19 patients.

The latest figures from the city show 406 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Long Beach, including 49 hospitalized individuals and about 197 people who have recovered. A total of 18 people have died locally from the coronavirus.

“All of us at MemorialCare are excited to participate in Gilead’s expanded access study, which allows our expert team of intensivists and infectious disease specialists to offer the drug to appropriate critically ill patients at Long Beach Medical Center,” said Dr. R. Kevin Jones, medical director in MemorialCare’s research administration office.

Jones said the patients include men and women who meet the enrollment criteria, including being critically ill, already admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit and in need of mechanical ventilation.

Patients will be administered remdesivir through a vein daily for 10 days and be closely monitored by a team of critical care specialists led by Dr. Henry Su, the principal investigator leading the research team.

“Research has been a strong part of MemorialCare’s mission of providing the most advanced options for patients, including the option of participating in research such as the current study,” said Jonas.

Long Beach Memorial is one of 24 locations throughout the country participating in Gilead’s expanded study, which was approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

The expanded study, commonly referred to as “compassionate use” protocol, allows patients with life-threatening conditions immediate access to investigational medication outside of clinical trials “when no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy options are available,” according to hospital officials.

For more information about the program click here.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.
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