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Drug Repurposing Research Leads to Potentially Game-Changing Treatment to Prevent Clinical Deterioration in Outpatients With COVID

The Covid-19 Early Treatment Fund (CETF) was launched to provide funding for research in order to “find an existing drug or drug combination that, when given early, reduces hospitalization and fatality rates by 75% or more.” One of the projects funded by CETF was a study by Dr. Eric Lenze, published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on November 12, 2020, that found in “adult outpatients with symptomatic COVID-19, patients treated with fluvoxamine, compared with placebo, had a lower likelihood of clinical deterioration over 15 days.”

While the authors noted that “the study is limited by a small sample size and short follow-up duration, and determination of clinical efficacy would require larger randomized trials with more definitive outcome measures,” the data was compelling enough for a doctor, who when faced with an outbreak at his facility, was able to use the information to create his own study and further explore the implications.

Dr. David Seftel, medical director at Golden Gate Fields (GGF), happened to read the JAMA article about a week before an outbreak occurred at the GGF racetrack. After assessing the situation and determining the extent of the outbreak, Dr. Seftel “counseled a cohort of positives after each round of testing and offered therapy. By the last round, all those who tested positive wanted fluvoxamine, some preemptively asking for it.”

In this experiment, the results showed a 0% hospitalization rate for those who chose the drug, versus 12.5% in the placebo group.

Panel:

David Boulware, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine
University of Minnesota Medical School

Steve Kirsch
Founder, COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund

David Seftel, MD, MBA
Co-Founder and CEO, Enable Biosciences
Medical Director, Golden Gate Fields

Vikas P. Sukhatme, MD, ScD
Dean, Emory School of Medicine
Chief Academic Officer, Emory Healthcare
Woodruff Professor, Emory School of Medicine