RICHMOND, Va. -- A potentially powerful treatment for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but have yet to develop symptoms is going through a clinical trial right here in Richmond.
It involves two antibodies made by AstraZeneca, whose coronavirus vaccine has already been approved for emergency use in Europe.
Friday I spoke with Dr. Robert Call, from Clinical Research Partners, who is running the trial.
“We're really excited about this trial,” Call said. “We've done a vaccine trial, and that's preventative, so now we're giving two antibodies that fight COVID, and protect you from COVID.”
Call pointed out the trial is looking for a very specific group of participants. “Those who have had a documented exposure to COVID. And within eight days they can come in here and we can give the antibodies to protect them against a possible infection,” he said. “It's an actual antibody attacking the COVID virus, two antibodies, in fact.”
Call says such a treatment would be beneficial to anyone who suddenly faced the prospect of a long quarantine, to say nothing of actually getting sick. “It could be incredibly helpful if somebody who has not gotten a vaccine, gets exposed,” Call said. “And this antibody protects them. Well, that's the next best thing to a vaccine. It could be somebody in a dorm, or in a business, a sorority or fraternity house.”
If an exposed person gets the antibodies within eight days they qualify for the treatment. And Call says getting such treatment would not impact your ability to eventually get the vaccine. “[The antibodies] are good for about 90 days,” he said. “You could get this antibody and then get the vaccine after 30 days.”
If you have been exposed to COVID-19 recently and are interested in signing up for the Clinical Research Partners at 804-477-3045. And they will get in touch with you.
Call says they are looking for 200 people.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.