COVID – 19 Experimental Drug Cleared for Clinical Trials in Humboldt County

April 7, 2020 Providence News Team

St Joseph Hospital in Eureka announced today its participation in two national clinical trials of anti-viral drug Remdesivir for the treatment of moderate and severe COVID-19. The experimental drug has shown promise in the treatment of COVID-19.

The clinical trial has been offered at Providence St. Joseph Health hospitals in Portland, OR and Washington state. Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH), the parent organization of St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County, has had a highly coordinated response to COVID-19 which includes implementation of clinical trials at several hospitals within the 51-hospital system.

St Joseph Hospital Eureka is the only hospital within St Joseph Health, Northern California to open as a site for these clinical trials. The hospital was chosen due to an established relationship with the principal investigator of the trial and was proactive in seeking accelerated approval for the trials in Humboldt.

“This is an important opportunity for future patients who present with COVID – 19 at St. Joseph Hospital and meet certain criteria, to have access to Remdesivir, a promising investigational drug,” said Dr. Roberta Luskin-Hawk, Chief Executive, St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County.

Luskin-Hawk, an infectious disease physician with extensive clinical research experience including working with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci during the AIDS epidemic, continued, “The main goal of the trial is to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the medication. We are incredibly fortunate to have the local expertise in Humboldt to facilitate the trials. The undertaking has required a great deal of work and planning, and we are thrilled to be part of this important work.”

St. Joseph Health Medical Group physician Dr. Igor Abolnik, a local infectious disease specialist will serve as the trial’s principal investigator. Kate Cruz, area manager, pharmacy services at St. Joseph Hospital will be helping coordinate the clinical trial.

The intravenous drug produced by biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc. of Foster City, CA, was used in the global fight against the Ebola outbreak. Gilead Sciences is in two phase-three clinical studies to evaluate Remdesivir in adults diagnosed with COVID-19. Approval will come after phase three if the drug is found to be safe and effective. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration put the drug in rapid review. The study will use about 1,000 patients across the country and should be completed by May.

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