Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) last week joined a multi-national trial that is testing a new, dual-action antibody treatment designed to reduce the severity and potentially stop the spread of COVID-19. Led by Manuel Gordillo, MD, medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s Infection Prevention and Control and principal investigator for the Sarasota trial, SMH on Thursday became the first hospital in Florida to offer Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ experimental treatment (REGN-COV2) to COVID-19 patients who meet the study criteria. The trial initially is open to hospitalized patients, but it could be expanded as early as this week for non-hospitalized patients with milder symptoms.
Sarasota Memorial is one of three hospitals in Florida and among 150 research sites in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Chile participating in Phase 2/3 trials, which follow positive results demonstrated in a Phase 1 safety trial. A separate trial to evaluate the antiviral antibody cocktail’s ability to prevent infection among uninfected people who have had close exposure to a COVID-19 patient (such as a patient’s housemate) also will get under way in the near future, the hospital says.
As of Monday afternoon, SMH had 638 patients in the hospital; 98 were COVID-19 patients, a hospital record. There were 54 patients in the ICU; of those, 19 were COVID-19 patients. The hospital has 839 total beds and 72 total ICU beds; it increased its ICU bed count from 62 to 72 in June. The hospital says it has enough ventilators to create more than 100 ICU beds, if needed. The seven-day SMH COVID-19 positivity rate is 10.6 percent.