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Northwell Health's Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is beginning three studies alongside Sanofi, Gilead Sciences and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. These studies will test possible treatments for moderate and severe cases of COVID-19. (Photo via Northwell Health)

Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes Teams Up with Sanofi, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Gilead Sciences to Test COVID-19 Treatments

The research arm of Northwell Health (No. 2 on DiversityInc’s 2019 Top Hospitals & Health Systems), the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, is partnering with Gilead Sciences, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi (No. 31 on DiversityInc’s 2019 Top 50 Companies for Diversity) to identify treatments for people hospitalized with moderate to severe cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Feinstein Institutes announced last week the enrollment of three clinical trials aimed at finding an effective treatment for those diagnosed with the coronavirus. Due to the urgency of the issue, there has been a nationwide push for expedited Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of experimental COVID-19 therapies. However, Northwell Health and the Feinstein Institutes announced the trials would continue through the typical, lengthier process to ensure accuracy.

Two of the trials, which will be conducted with Gilead, will involve the drug remdesivir. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that is designed to reduce the length and intensity of a COVID-19 infection. Northwell Health said the drug had shown promise in working against similar viruses like MERS and SARS in test tubes and animal models. The first trial has room for 400 subjects with severe cases of COVID-19 worldwide. Researchers will administer the drug intravenously in two different durations and measure patients’ bodies’ responses. Feinstein Institutes’ Marcia Epstein, MD, an infectious disease expert, will lead this study.

The other Gilead remdesivir trial will assess two different durations of treatment with the drug and compare it to the current treatment methods in up to 600 patients with moderate cases of COVID-19. Researchers will also look at improvement of symptoms and time of discharge. Prashant Malhotra, MD, will lead this study. Malhotra is an assistant professor of the Institute of Health Innovations & Outcomes Research at Feinstein Institutes and is an infectious disease expert.

In the third study, Feinstein will collaborate with Regeneron and Sanofi. The trial will look at approximately 400 severe or critical cases of COVID-19 in hospitals across the U.S. This trial will study the efficacy of a human antibody called sarilumab that may help prevent complications connected to severe pneumonia in COVID-19 patients. This study adds to a preliminary Chinese trial that found the use of the antibody helped reduce fever in all patients.

China has approved its use to treat patients with severe or critical cases. Negin Hajizadeh, MD, an assistant professor in the Institute of Health Innovations & Outcomes Research and a pulmonary critical care doctor will be leading this study.

To read more about these studies and Northwell’s plans to combat COVID-19, visit northwell.edu.

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