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“The results are impressive,” said Nader Pourhassan, the CEO of biotech firm CytoDyn during a conference call Monday.
Leronlimab is a viral-entry inhibitor that has targeted HIV and breast cancer. The drug also has been attracting attention as a potential coronavirus treatment, particularly to quell the so-called “cytokine storm,” when COVID-19 has caused the immune system to go awry.
“Leronlimab decreases plasma viral load,” said Dr. Bruce Patterson, the CEO of diagnostic specialist IncellDX during the conference call, noting that leronlimab also restored immune cells.
Patterson said his lab performed a blood-sample analysis of the first 10 COVID-19 patients enrolled in Emergency Investigational New Drug treatments at Montefiore Medical Center.
“That is remarkable for one drug to restore the immune system and decrease the viral burden in these patients,” Patterson added. “That is what gives us great hope and great excitement about leronlimab going forward in these trials.”
CytoDyn has been enrolling patients in two clinical trials for COVID-19: a Phase 2 randomized clinical trial for mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients in the U.S. and a Phase 2b/3 randomized clinical trial for severe and critically ill COVID-19 patients in several hospitals throughout the country, company executives said in a statement.
Leronlimab has been one of multiple drugs in the spotlight as the world scrambled to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Many experts, however, have warned that people should not take drugs unless a doctor prescribes them.
CytoDyn recently announced leronlimab had shown a “very promising” response in COVID-19 patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.
As of Monday afternoon, over 3 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, with over 983,800 of them in the U.S. The disease has accounted for over 210,000 deaths around the world, including more than 50,000 in the U.S.
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