Coronavirus Antibody: Clinical Trials of Drugs Are Taking Longer Than Expected

At some hospitals, officials have been able to use existing facilities. In Tyler, Texas, the UT Health North Campus medical center is an old tuberculosis hospital, with rooms that use negative air pressure to prevent viruses from spreading.

But in other locations, like Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., finding the right spot has been a struggle. Dr. Joshua Purow, who is overseeing the Eli Lilly outpatient trial at the hospital, rushed to get his site ready once he saw that infections were rising in the area.

But Holy Cross turned down his first choice, a corner of the emergency department, out of fears that the space would be needed for more severe Covid-19 patients. The idea of installing an outdoor tent was deemed too complicated, and refurbishing a room in a nearby office building would take precious weeks.

Weeks passed before Dr. Purow finally secured a place to run the trial. It was in the emergency department, the first place he had requested.

“We finally have it all set up to go,” Dr. Purow said. “But now, our numbers are declining a little bit. We’re not seeing as much as we thought we would.”

So far, he said, he has enrolled just one participant, out of a hoped-for 25. Over all, the Eli Lilly outpatient trial is aiming for including 400 patients. The similar Regeneron study has a goal of enrolling about 1,500 patients.

Not every trial site is seeing such hurdles. Dr. Jason Morris, who is overseeing the Eli Lilly study at his physician practice, Imperial Health, in Lake Charles, La., has already exceeded his goals and has enrolled about 45 patients. Dr. Morris said he or another doctor calls each person who tests positive for the virus at the group’s urgent care clinic and tells them about the study.

Source Article