New COVID-19 study: Reduced death rates, ventilator requirements and hospital stays

Updated: Jul. 8, 2020 at 10:28 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -A new COVID-19 treatment is being studied in the Jackson, Mississippi. The initial results are promising.

It’s been about a month since we first reported this outpatient study being done with GI Associates and St. Dominic’s Hospital. But even before that launched, the same combination of drugs was being studied for critical patients already in the hospital.

There’s still no proven treatment for COVID-19. Yet, the immune system’s reaction and the inflammatory response known as the cytokine storm is something Dr. Reed Hogan and GI Associates were familiar with. Because the drugs are historically safe and there’s a lack of other proven therapies, Dr. John Studdard and the physician practice group, Jackson Pulmonary Associates, agreed to try the treatment in critically-ill patients.

“If we didn’t have utmost faith that we could modify the cytokine storm, we never would’ve entered into possibly thinking, a bunch of GI and pulmonary docs in Jackson, Mississippi treat coronavirus,” explained Dr. Reed Hogan,II.

But his research team had nearly a decade’s worth of data on how the combination of two over the counter drugs, an antihistamine and antacid, could attack that inflammation.

“When we first started this study, our intensive care physicians...they basically said, we admit patients, we follow them, hope to keep them off the ventilator,” explained Hogan. “And once they get on the ventilator, unfortunately we watch them die because we have zero to offer them. Everything’s fallen by the wayside on the early treatment protocols.”

They’ve now published their findings from a study that was conducted from early April to mid-June at Baptist Hospital in Jackson.

“We decided, let’s go for the sickest patients and see if we can make a difference,” noted Hogan.

Most notably, when patients received this combination of drugs, the death rate was reduced 25-40%. It reduced the need for a ventilator. And those on ventilators, were able to come off them.

“That was kind of surprising to us since some of these patients were so sick…we got quite a few patients that were on the ventilator at the start and we managed to get a significant number of patients off the ventilator which we found very encouraging,” Hogan described.

Hogan stresses this isn’t a silver bullet. It’s what they call a proof of concept study but one that’s proving promising.

“We have the science to back it up and it looks like we have some fairly good results that are definitely worth pursuing,” added Hogan.

The research article can be found HERE.

The outpatient trial utilizing these same drugs is ongoing.

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