Possible COVID-19 treatment breakthrough at Montefiore


The identification of an effective drug treatment for COVID-19 could be a game-changer in the fight against the coronavirus. When the Bronx’s own Montefiore Medical Center is the site of real progress, it’s something to get excited about.

On an investor call Monday the small pharmaceutical company CytoDyn and their consultant Dr. Bruce Patterson reported rapid and significant improvement in the condition of the first seven COVID-19 patients to receive Leronlimab (Vyrologix). Publication of Dr. Patterson’s medical article is expected shortly.

Leronlimab has not been FDA approved, but is already an investigational drug in trials treating cancer and HIV. CytoDyn’s claims are rooted in the idea that suppression of the cytokine protein CCL5 (RANTES) has both antiviral and anti-inflammatory implications.

“I’m telling you today, COVID-19 is a RANTES disease,” Dr. Patterson said on the call. “There is nothing that RANTES hasn’t been involved in, and that makes sense because RANTES coordinates the movement of cells throughout the body.”

The Leronlimab study is not the only COVID-19 drug trial currently at Montefiore, which also participates in a multi-center study called the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT): NCT04280705. To date, the ACTT has been a study of the antiviral drug Remdesivir. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which coordinates the study, has just announced that pharmaceutical giant Ely Lilly’s Baricitinib (Olumiant), an anti-inflammatory, will also be included despite NIH’s recent treatment guidelines specifically recommending against its use.

Both Leronlimab and Baricitinib differ from anti-inflammatories that target another cytokine protein, Interleukin-6. Will the best drug prevail? Will patients at Montefiore be asked to choose which study to participate in? For more information on drug trials in our area, see https://parkchestertimes.com/covid-drug-trials-in-and-near-the-bronx. It’s all happening in The Bronx.

Update: June 4, 2020

When we interviewed Dr. Michael Pillinger and others at https://parkchestertimes.com/covid-19-treatment-at-home-the-colcorona-study, Dr. Pillinger spoke of COVID-19 anti-inflammatory immunomodulators in two categories, IL-6 inhibitors and those that interact with molecules “upstream” of IL-6.

Until now much of the information available about Leronlimab, which acts “upstream” of IL-6, has been via the drug’s manufacturer, CytoDyn. Now Dr. Mobeen Syed (Dr. Been) has made a video describing Leronlimab’s mechanism of action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yN7llL9xNA. The meat of that discussion begins 30 minutes in, so I strongly recommend starting at the 30 minute mark and doubling back later if you’re interested in monoclonal antibodies generally

This is NOT a blanket endorsement of Dr. Mobeen Syed and his opinions. Got to like his cartoons, though.

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