New COVID-19 drug tested in DMV shows promising results

A new drug tested here in the DMV to treat severe cases of COVID-19 is showing promising results.

Inova partnered with the National Institute Health to conduct phase 2 of research of pharmaceutical company Rigel’s drug, Fostamantinib.

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Preliminary results show that patients treated with the drug had less severe effects from COVID and improved clinical outcomes.

The study was conducted on 59 patients.

"We are particularly excited about some of this efficacy data coming out of this study. It looked like the patients spent less time in the ICU, less time in hospital," Dr. Steven Nathan, Inova Medical Director of Advanced Lung Disease and Lung Transplant Program said.

The patients treated also spent less time on oxygen and had lower mortality rates.

"The signal that came out in regards to efficacy appeared to be in the most sick patients. Those who are on a lot of oxygen and mechanical ventilation. There were actually three deaths in the study and they were all in the placebo arm," Dr. Nathan said.

While Dr. Nathan said he’s optimistic about the results, he warns the drug is still in early research stages.

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"I think it is exciting prelim data but I have to caveat that you know, I’ve been around long enough to see exciting prelim data not pan out so we really have to wait for phase three," he said.

Dr. Nathan says the best way to end the pandemic is to get the COVID vaccine.

"We don’t want to be treating COVID 19. We don’t want to have to do anymore research. We want to eradicate this disease and the way we’re going to do it is get everyone vaccinated," he said.

Phase three of research is being conducted in South America. Once it’s complete Rigel could submit to the FDA for approval.