Cleveland Clinic Florida is ready to begin what it hopes will lead to treatments that could make coronavirus a threat of the past.
Within a few weeks, researchers there plan to test whether Vitamin C and Zinc help reduce the likelihood of a newly diagnosed COVID-19 patient being hospitalized. They also want to find out whether it can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.
“The goal is to start these medications within two days of your diagnosis,” says Dr. Carla McWilliams, an infectious disease specialist involved in that research.
She adds that the team will have a goal of enrolling 520 Cleveland Clinic patients in the trial within two days of their positive coronavirus diagnosis.
“Vitamin C and Zinc have been around for a long time in the outpatient setting. There’s a lot of products out there. They’re all used for colds and flu,” McWilliams explains.
In addition, Cleveland Clinic Florida is planning clinical trials for the use of an antibody called Canakinumab. Researchers want to use it with patients who have had a heart attack while being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Pandemic or not, every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack. If you're hesitant to go to the ER even with life-threatening symptoms such as chest pain, read how Cleveland Clinic Florida is keeping patients safe in spite of COVID-19: https://t.co/T97KYj58gq pic.twitter.com/VeXTUNmZCN
— Cleveland Clinic Florida (@CleveClinicFL) May 13, 2020
“There’s been descriptions of heart attacks. There’s been an increased risk of stroke. There have been so-called corona-toes. There’s all this vascular inflammatory response,” McWilliams says.
For about a month, Cleveland Clinic Florida has been conducting clinical trials for convalescent plasma therapy, which collects antibody-rich plasma from donors who have recovered from coronavirus to use for patients who are currently fighting the disease.
The organization’s Florida Research and Innovations Center (FRIC), set to open this summer in Port St. Lucie, will be part of the research and treatment efforts.