One-of-a-kind COVID-19 clinical trial happening in Tucson

With vaccine months away, group focusing on ways to treat coronavirus
Updated: Jul. 3, 2020 at 11:31 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A one-of-a-kind clinical trial for COVID-19 is happening right here in southern Arizona.

Given the current pandemic, Arizona Clinical Trials decided to offer an investigational treatment trials for patients with COVID-19.

“This is something that we feel is historic really,” said Dr. Anita Kohli, the Director of Research for Arizona Clinical Trials. “A vaccine is still months away. So really what we’re looking for in the interim is a medication to be able to treat this.”

Patients 18 years old and up who have COVID-19 or its symptoms will be given Monoclonal Antibody Therapy from REGENERON.

People who are COVID-19 positive and very ill in the hospital are sometimes given convalescent plasma, or plasma that is donated from another person who beat the virus. Kohli and her team will be using synthesized antibodies.

It can be more beneficial since unlike convalescent plasma, they can control how many antibodies are given.

“The antibodies work from preventing the virus from binding to cells that it may enter and making the disease worse. We can actually measure how many antibodies we’re giving people so we know we’re giving them high doses of it,” Kohli said.

Patients will call the clinic ahead of time before going to the facility, which is located at 1601 N. Swan.

After getting their temperature taken and filling out a consent form, workers will decide if the person is eligible for the trials.

If everything checks out, the patient will be given the infusion on synthetic antibodies. The process usually takes about an hour.

Patients will either be given a high dose of monoclonal antibody, a low dose of monoclonal antibody, or a placebo.

The patients will then be monitored for 30 days.

With any trial, there’s a chance it won’t work.

Kohli said with the number of cases in Arizona increasing each day, they have to try.

“We can never promise whether things work or don’t work but this is how we develop new therapies and we have to give people more options,” Kohli said.

For more information, contact Kohli at or 520-445-4000.

Summary Inclusions for the study are:

  • Age 18 years and over
  • COVID-19 PCR Positive (on-site testing can also confirm within 45 min)
  • One more more of SOB, cough or fever
  • COVID-19 symptoms for less than seven days
  • Ability to consent

Summary Exclusions for the study are:

  • Hospital admission for COVID-19
  • IVIG infusion in past three months
  • Treatment with Remdesivir
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding


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