University of Miami

UM Beginning Trial With Drug Given to Trump to Battle Virus

The monoclonal antibody will be given to volunteers, as young as 12, who share a household with others recently diagnosed with COVID.

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If you recently learned you share a household with someone who has coronavirus, the University of Miami is looking to give you the same antibody-based drug that President Trump received when he was in the hospital with COVID-19.

The monoclonal antibody made by Regeneron Labs is already being tested to see if it helps the body prevent the virus from spreading in people who are already sick.

But Dr. Gary Kleiner, a University of Miami immunologist, said the trial beginning at UM will gauge something else.

"This trial’s a little bit different because it’s a preventive trial for household contacts," Kleiner said. "We’re providing or potentially providing an antibody that hopefully will prevent or decrease the likelihood of transmission and, if it does occur, hopefully it will be less severe."

Volunteers, who will be tracked for seven months, must:

  • be at least 12 years old;
  • have no symptoms from COVID;
  • been exposed within four days to a member of their household with COVID.

Anyone interested in applying should call UM Health at 305-243-5684.

UM is looking for 100 volunteers, half of whom will be injected with the antibodies -- clones of proteins the body makes to fight off viruses; the other half will get a placebo.

By limiting the trial to people who live in a household where the virus is present, Kleiner said, it can better determine whether the drug reduces transmission.

"The average transmission rate is about 10 percent in the same household," he said. "So the hope is this will have a decrease -- obviously less than 10 percent -- if it's successful."

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