Doylestown Health seeks volunteers for monoclonal antibody clinical trial

By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Doylestown Health is taking part in nationwide clinical trials of monoclonal antibodies as a treatment for COVID-19, and it needs volunteers who recently tested positive for the virus.

According to Dr. Les Szekely, studies have shown monoclonal antibodies may be effective in fighting the COVID-19 infection.

Participants need to have recently tested positive and experienced mild to moderate symptoms. The study is also looking for half of the recruited participants to be people who are at significant risk, like people over the age of 65 or with other medical issues, such as heart disease, obesity or diabetes.

“They should be COVID-positive within the last seven days,” Szekely added of requirements, “so if patients are COVID-positive two weeks ago, they would not be eligible for this study. And, they have to have had symptoms for no longer than 10 days.”

The treatment is an hour-long infusion, along with what he describes as a pretty intense follow-up for the first week or two, with phone calls, nasal swabs and blood work. Then, a looser follow-up for up to six months.

While some studies have shown monoclonal antibodies may help, the treatment is still experimental. Szekely emphasized that this is a study on whether the treatment works and whether it’s safe.

And, just because a vaccine is available doesn’t mean they’ll stop looking for treatments for people who get infected.

Anyone interested in participating in the trial can talk to their health care provider or check out riseabovecovid.org.

In Szekely’s opinion, anyone volunteering for vaccine or treatment trials are “heroes.”

“They’re on the forefront,” he said. “Without volunteers, we would never know if medications are safe and efficacious.”