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Stanford Scientist Team Still Working on Potential COVID Vaccine

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Scientist Aruna Subramanian

HI INDIA NEWS DESK
STANFORD, CA- As companies continue to work toward generating, and distributing, a vaccine for COVID-19, an Indian American scientist at Stanford, Aruna Subramanian, and a team at the university continue their work on outpatients to further their efforts.

The team at Stanford, which includes Subramanian, is working on the antiviral drug Favipiravir, which was developed in 2014 by a subsidiary of the Japanese film company to treat influenza, is undergoing numerous clinical studies worldwide, including a trial involving 180 patients at Stanford University.

Stanford epidemiologists are testing Favipiravir to see if it prevents the coronavirus from replicating in human cells, halts the shedding of the virus and reduces the severity of infection.
As companies continue to work toward generating, and distributing, a vaccine for COVID-19, an Indian American scientist at Stanford, Aruna Subramanian, and a team at the university continue their work on outpatients to further their efforts.

The team at Stanford, which includes Subramanian, is working on the antiviral drug Favipiravir, which was developed in 2014 by a subsidiary of the Japanese film company to treat influenza, is undergoing numerous clinical studies worldwide, including a trial involving 180 patients at Stanford University.

Stanford epidemiologists are testing Favipiravir to see if it prevents the coronavirus from replicating in human cells, halts the shedding of the virus and reduces the severity of infection.

Subramanian in the summer noted, “We hope that this drug can help to reduce transmission within families, groups and schools,” adding: “Plus, it would be really nice to have pills that can be given early on to make people get better faster.”

Upon launching the study, the drug had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. There are other trials investigating the drug, but this is the first time it will be tested in outpatients in the U.S., Subramanian said. It has been approved to treat COVID-19 in Russia, China and India.

“Favipiravir could be very important for symptom relief, especially for patients with mild cases who can have symptoms for a long time,” Subramanian said. “We’ve seen a number of symptoms continue, such as coughs, shortness of breath, fatigue.”

Unlike Remdesivir, it can be administered orally, so it can be used to treat patients early in the disease, before hospitalization is necessary.

The Stanford study, as of last month, had enrolled about 90 patients, who are given the drug within 72 hours of when they were first diagnosed with COVID-19. Half of them get a placebo. They hope to enroll 120 patients.

People can enroll by emailing [email protected]

Additionally, Subramanian and the Stanford School of Medicine are working with Regeneron on REGN-COV2, for monoclonal antibodies, a report notes.

The REGN-COV2 cocktail is the same one President Donald Trump received, and Stanford is one of dozens of locations nationwide where clinical trials are being held. Two separate trials are under way at Stanford — one for hospitalized patients, the other for outpatients. A third trial is about to begin for people who aren’t sick but are in contact with carriers of the virus.
Regeneron halted testing on severely ill patients requiring high-flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation after the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board determined that the drug was unlikely to help them, reports noted.

The drug is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies — lab-made clones of the antibodies produced naturally in people who have recovered from COVID-19. The antibodies bind to the virus’ spike protein and block the virus’ ability to enter cells, according to reports.

Subramanian, professor of infectious diseases at Stanford and lead investigator for the inpatient trial, said the 21 hospitalized patients in the study receive a high dose like Trump, a lower dose or a placebo.

Subramanian plans to expand the inpatient trial to 45 patients. The outpatient study had enrolled a little more than 40 of the 60 patients’ researchers intend to sign up, as of last month.

“There’s enough promising evidence that it helps people early in the infection,” Subramanian said. “What we don’t know is whether it helps people who are pretty sick but not critically ill.”

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