Monday, April 6, 2020

St. Joseph Approved to Participate in Trials of Possible COVID-19 Drug

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 9:09 PM

click to enlarge HUMBOLDT COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
  • Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services
St. Joseph Hospital just announced that it has been cleared to participate in two national clinical trials of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir for treatment of moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.

According to a press release, St. Joseph was proactive in seeking accelerated approval for the trials in Humboldt because it believes the drug has shown "promise in the treatment of COVID-19."

“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  St. Joseph Health-Humboldt County CEO Roberta Luskin-Hawk, an infectious disease physician with clinical research experience, including work with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci during the AIDS epidemic.

But while the drug has shown some promise, there is still a lot about its safety and efficacy that is unknown, hence the need for clinical trials. The announcement also comes just as the healthcare industry is awaiting results from studies of the drug's use in China, and on the same day Humboldt County Public Health announced the 49th local COVID-19 case.

For more on what is — and isn't — known about Remdesivir, see this story from STAT, a healthcare news website launched by the owner of The Boston Globe. And see the full press release from St. Joseph copied below:


PRESS ADVISORY
For immediate release

COVID – 19 Experimental Drug Cleared for Clinical Trials in Humboldt County
St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka chosen to administer Remdesivir

(Eureka, CA. – April 7, 2020) – 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.

About St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County
St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County (SJHS-HC) is committed to meeting the highest standards in health care delivery while ministering to the needs of the whole person – body, mind and spirit. This commitment to the people of the North Coast is expressed in the St. Joseph Health System's five core values – Compassion, Dignity, Excellence, Justice and Integrity. St. Joseph Health, Humboldt County offers a comprehensive network of specialty care and services including a Level III Trauma Center, Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and a Cancer Center Accredited by the Commission on Cancer. The health care ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange began in Humboldt County during the flu epidemic of 1918. The Sisters opened the first St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka in 1920 and committed to continually improving the health and quality of life of the people served. This commitment continues today and has been further defined by the vision of St. Joseph Health –Health for a Better World.
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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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