MURRAY, Utah (ABC4) – Even as vaccination numbers rise, Covid-19 continues to put Utahns in intensive care units and cemeteries. The state Department of Health reported 141 Covid patients in hospitals Wednesday and four new deaths.
Now, doctors at Intermountain Healthcare are looking at two promising ways to treat those hardest hit by the virus.
It’s called the ACTIV-3 Critical Care Trial. Physicians here in Utah and around the world hope it will be the last study of Covid they ever do.
“Part of what’s so hard about Covid is you want this damn virus to be gone,” Dr. Samuel Brown says. “We want to be done with it and nothing would make us happier than to never have to do another Covid study for the rest of our lives. The reality is that Covid persists, and while it persists, we feel a moral obligation to bring trial access to patients to allow them access to these promising drugs in a scientifically careful and safe and appropriate environment.”
The study examines Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS, the condition that makes the lungs unable to supply oxygen. It’s what kills most Covid fatalities.
One drug they’ll evaluate is Zyesami, a synthetic hormone.
“It looks like it has real potential and promise,” Brown says. “It protects the lung cells that are attacked by Covid. It has been demonstrated to decrease the amount of Covid virus, the SARS CoV-2 that’s been present in cells. It’s been shown to adjust the inflammation and immune response, which can be such a big deal in ARDS.”
Other patients in the trial will receive an anti-viral drug called remdesivir for up to 10 days.
“We know that it helps people recover faster if they have a more moderate Covid in the hospital, but whether it will help these critical Covid, critically ill patients who are requiring life support therapies for their breathing because their lungs are failing, whether it will help them, we don’t know,” Brown says. “Again, it’s promising, but we really want to know the answer: does it work or does it not?”
Each one of these trials will enroll approximately 620 participants at 50 different sites in the United States. Brown says they already have four patients here involved in the study.