COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - IACT Health on Talbotton Road in Columbus is among the first medical research facility in the country to host a clinical study on the treatment of the coronavirus in people.
Anyone who has already tested positive to COVID-19 can participate. They have to show up every day for 30 days. They are then given what’s called “monoclonal antibodies.” Basically, they are antibodies that have been isolated from the blood of COVID-19 survivors and replicated inside a laboratory, according to Cassandra Motle, clinical research coordinator at IACT Health.
“It kind of teaches the body to fight the virus by building antibodies to combat it,” she said. “The treatment is about 30 days and it does consist of an hour infusion and then from that point, we monitor the patient for the other 29 days.”
Patients who participate in the clinical trials could be randomized to varying doses of the drug medical professionals are studying. They could also be given a placebo drug, a drug that is non-active. That factor could be completely dependent on a patient’s race, age, or even genetic makeup, according to Jeff Kingsley M.D. & CEO of IACT Health.
“You could be randomized to the study drug, monoclonal antibodies, or a treatment that is meant to make you feel better as you recover from the coronavirus,” Kingsley said. “You might be randomized to one arm which is one dose of the drug. You might be randomized to a different dose of that drug, or a different frequency of administration.”
The recovery rate varies from patient to patient, but there is one common factor between those who participate in the trials.
“It really seems to provide hope that someone out there is doing something to try to combat and fight this alongside with them,” Motley said.
Another trial being conducted at IACT Health is what’s called a point of care antigen test. If a patient is experiencing symptoms and aligns with the qualifications to participate in the trial, it can tell them if they have coronavirus within minutes, a much shorter wait time compared to other facilities where test results often don’t come back for weeks.