New COVID-19 clinical trial will utilize combination of two historically safe drugs

Updated: Jun. 9, 2020 at 7:15 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There’s still no treatment for COVID-19. But there are hundreds of clinical trials searching for a solution. A new one, launching today in Mississippi.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. So, GI Associates in Flowood may not be on the list of likely places for a clinical trial idea to spur. But, think again.

“There’s several GI diseases that we have this inflammatory cascade that’s the same cascade of events, the cytokine storm, that’s the same cascade of events that you see with COVID-19,” said gastroenterologist Dr. Reed Hogan II.

See, Dr. Reed Hogan’s research team had already been looking at that inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract for the last ten years.

“After the phone call from a big-pharma player saying haven’t you treated COVID yet and the question was why do you ask? They said, you know it’s the same pathway. We felt obligated to figure it out.”

GI Associates is partnering with St. Dominic’s for an outpatient trial. Hogan says they’ve had successes with the synergy that happens with combination of two over the counter drugs, both histamine receptor blockers, Cetirizine and Famotidine. Medications for this clinical trial have been donated by Transplant Pharmacy in Flowood.

“The nice thing about this is it’s easily available, rapidly scalable," described Hogan. "So, this could be used in third world countries, in impoverished nations as a quick rapid approach to try to lessen the morbidity and mortality.”

St. Dominic Hospital is optimistic about the potential of this clinical trial.

“With no commercial vaccine currently available for this new disease, this type of research is vital to advancing our response to COVID-19,” said Eric McVey, M.D., St. Dominic Hospital chief medical officer and infectious disease specialist.

And the outpatient trial is significant because the goal is to keep patients from progressing to the point where they need hospitalization.

“There’s a scream for preventing progression of this disease," explained Dr. Hogan. "If we can be successful in lessening the impact of the cytokine storm, keeping people out of the hospital and off the ventilators, it’ll be a major improvement for our healthcare.”

Just like other trials you’ve heard about, this isn’t your cue to go and buy up these these drugs. The trial is designed to figure out what ratio of the two is needed for possible treatment of COVID-19. And you don’t need to play doctor at home.

Screening of potential candidates will be facilitated by St. Dominic’s, St. Dominic’s Medical Associates and MEA clinics.

For patients with diagnosed COVID-19, information about this outpatient clinical trial is available. Please contact COVID-19 research study coordinators at or 601-863-0395.

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