NEW YORK CITY (CNN) – Multiple clinical trials are now underway to find effective treatments for COVID-19. New York hospitals are even studying a common a heartburn drug as a treatment option.
Doctors are trying to find out if a common medicine might help in the fight against the coronavirus. Researchers in New York City are studying the active ingredient in Pepcid, called famotidine.
It’s because of something doctors observed in China.
“Patients who were sick with COVID but were taking famotidine had a better outcome,” Dr. Kevin Tracey said.
Now doctors at Northwell Health are trying it out in a clinical trial. So far they’ve enrolled 187 patients and expect preliminary results in a few weeks.
“There are many examples in the history of medicine where a drug that was designed for one purpose turns out to have an effect on another disease,” Tracy said.
But Tracey warned people to not rush out to buy heartburn medicine. The patients in the study are in the hospital, getting mega-doses intravenously, and it’s not clear that it will work.
While the Northwell doctors work on famotidine, Dr. Anthony Fauci Saturday had some hopeful words for another drug, Remdesivir, for animals with coronavirus.
A doctor at the University of Nebraska said results on a major Remdesivir study in humans could be available in a week or two.
Also over the weekend, the governor of Florida held a press conference where a doctor said 12 patients had done well on convalescent plasma, antibodies from someone who’s recovered from coronavirus are given to someone who’s currently infected.
“And when we give it to that patient we are essentially boosting their immune system to help fight this infection. This is going to be a huge game changer in our armamentarium to fight COVID-19.” Dr. Sunil Desai said.
But experts warn that having 12 patients who recovered doesn’t necessarily mean very much since most COVID-19 patients do recover, a larger study with a comparison would be necessary.