New potential combat to COVID


WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The newest effort to combat COVID-19 could come after meetings this week by an FDA advisory panel. That panel will determine whether to authorize booster shots of Moderna and the johnson and johnson vaccines.

Those meetings are set for Thursday and Friday. The FDA advisory panel will also hear a presentation on the effectiveness of mixing vaccine brands. But the vaccine isn’t all that’s making news. Researchers are working on better treatments for COVID-19.

We’ve heard about improved treatments for COVID-19 in the pipeline: from a COVID antiviral pill by Merck which is seeking FDA emergency use authorization, to monoclonal antibody treatments which can help prevent severe illness and death. But before the FDA authorizes any treatment, it must first be tested on patients in clinical trials. One such trial is called ACTIV-1.

“ACTIV-1 is a very important trial,” said Principal Investigator of ACTIV-1 Clinical Trial at the University of Illinois, Alfredo Mena Lora, MD.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Alfredo Mena Lora serves as Principal Investigator of the ACTIV-1 Clinical Trial.

“It is looking at treatment options in our most severe cases which are the patients who are hospitalized, who need oxygen or are in need of ventilator machines and other things like that,” said Dr. Mena.

Dr. Mena Lora says COVID hospitalizations and deaths like those Pennsylvania has experienced clearly points to a need for better treatments. To make that possible, he says there’s an urgent need for a diverse group of COVID patients to participate in clinical trials like ACTIV-1.

“Having diversity in clinical trials is very important because if any of these treatments are proven successful, we want to make sure that it’s successful in all groups,” said Dr. Mena.

Clinical trials of potential new COVID-19 treatments run the gamut. It’s not just anti-inflammatories that ACTIV-1 is taking a hard look at.

“We have clinical trials looking at medications and infusions for outpatients in order to try to halt the progression of COVID-19 and prevent people from becoming hospitalized in the first place,” explained Dr. Mena.

Dr. Mena Lora describes multiple options for COVID patients to participate in clinical trials. More than 800 sites across the country are conducting these trials. Some studies don’t even require you to leave home

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