AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - An independent panel for Regeneron (Independent Data Monitoring Committee), announced the company’s COVID-19 treatment has had so much success in reducing the rates of hospitalization and deaths in patients, they will stop enrolling patients in the placebo group.
Since August, Texas Tech physicians and the Pharmatex Research Group in Amarillo have been involved with administering a trial to help find a possible COVID-19 treatment.
Now Amarillo’s PharmaTex Research group will change its study to help find the best dose for COVID-19 patients.
Amarillo has been one of the leading groups in Regeneron research as over 150 people in our area have participated in finding a treatment for COVID-19. Amarillo is the only city in West Texas with access.
“I think what was one of the most remarkable things was how invested many of the citizens of Amarillo were and being involved with the trial and enrolling in the trial. Without having patients that are willing to participate in a trial, it just doesn’t happen and you don’t get the results that are so important to have. And so, I think much of the credit goes to the patients that enrolled in the trial and were willing to help us identify a treatment that now we know is something that’s effective for patients in the future that may develop an infection,” said Dr. Mark Sigler, assistant professor of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Texas Tech Physicians Pulmonologist & Critical Care Physician.
Since the research has been so effective, patients will be placed in either a high dose or low dose treatment to test which is most effective.
“We’re are still between 150 and 200 patients in Amarillo that participated in the out-patient study. We’ve also been involved with the end-patient study and we have had over 60 patients now that have enrolled in the in-patient study,” said Dr. Sigler.
Since the trial will not include the placebo, they will continue to enroll patients into both the 1200 mg and 2400 mg groups of the Regeneron COVID-19 treatment.
“Often times we think the high dose must always be better, but that’s actually not always the case. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, so what we’re trying to find out is the best dose for the antibody,” said Dr. Sigler.
The treatment has been distributed to hospitals around the U.S., but it is currently used for emergencies only.
“But there was enough data on it that said we can start using it now in patients that meet the appropriate criteria. And so for patients that are high risk, meaning older patients or patients that have things like COPD or heart trouble or diabetes, they’ve been able to receive this antibody at several different treatment centers in Amarillo. Mainly at BSA and North West Texas Healthcare System,” said Dr. Sigler.
The study will end this March and those results will determine when and how it will be distributed next.