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Archive - Oct 20, 2020

UCLA-Led Team Reports Results of Compassionate Use Treatment of 23 Severe/Critical COVID-19 Patients with CytoDyn’s Leronlimab; Possible Benefit of Leronlimab Suggested

Physicians from UCLA, together with collaborators, have reported tantalizingly positive anecdotal results from the compassionate use of the humanized monoclonal antibody lerorimab made by CytoDyn in the treatment of COVID-19 in 23 severely/critically ill patients. The results were reported online on October 20, 2020 in Clinical Infectious Diseases (https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa1583/59...). The open-access article is titled “Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of COVID-19 Patients Receiving Compassionate Use Leronlimab.” The research team, led by Otto Yang, MD, in UCLA’s Department of Medicine, followed 23 hospitalized severe/critical COVID-19 patients who received 700 mg leronlimab subcutaneously, repeated after seven days in 17/23 patients still hospitalized. 18/23 also received other experimental treatments, including convalescent plasma, hydroxychloroquine, steroids, and/or tocilizumab. 5/23 received leronlimab after blinded placebo-controlled trials of remdesivir, sarilumab, selinexor, or tocilizumab. Outcomes and results were extracted from medical records. The mean age of the 23 patients was 69.5±14.9 years. 20/23 had significant co-morbidities. At baseline, 22/23 were receiving supplemental oxygen (3/23 high flow, 7/23 mechanical ventilation). Blood showed markedly elevated inflammatory markers (ferritin, D-dimer, C-reactive protein) and elevated neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio. By day 30 after initial dosing, 17/23 were recovered, 2/23 were still hospitalized, and 4/23 had died. Of the 7 intubated at baseline, 4/7 were fully recovered off oxygen, 2/7 were still hospitalized, and 1/7 had died. Based on this data, the researchers concluded that lerolimab appeared safe and well tolerated.

IncellDx to Collaborate in Phase 2 COVID-19 Clinical Trial of Pfizer’s Maraviroc, a CCR5 Antagonist

On October 20, 2020, IncellDx announced that it will collaborate on the SARS-CoV2 Clinical Trial NCT04435522 involving Pfizer's FDA-approved CCR5 antagonist Maraviroc (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maraviroc). The trial "Open-Label Study of Maraviroc in Hospitalized Individuals Diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2" seeks to establish whether a one-week treatment with Maraviroc, used at its approved dosage for HIV, is safe and tolerable in patients with SARS-CoV-2. Maraviroc, an oral medication, will be administered for seven days. Blood will be collected at Day 0, 3, 7, and 14. IncellDx is performing a Maraviroc-specific CCR5 Receptor Occupancy assay, their IncellKINE RUO Cytokine Storm quantification panel, immune profiling with T-cell exhaustion and macrophage polarization, as well as SARS-CoV-2 plasma viral load (pVL) . Bruce Patterson MD, CEO of IncellDx, commented that "Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, IncellDx has led the way in defining the role of CCR5 antagonism in diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. We are excited to collaborate in the study of Maraviroc's potential as a therapeutic for COVID-19. In our studies, we have shown that CCR5 antagonism can restore immune homeostasis, quiet the cytokine storm, and reduce plasma viral load of SARS-CoV-2 RNA." IncellDx, Inc., located in San Carlos, California, is a single-cell, molecular diagnostics company dedicated to revolutionizing healthcare, one cell at a time. By combining molecular diagnostics with high-throughput cellular analysis, the company's focus is on critical life-threatening diseases in the areas of COVID-19, infectious disease and oncology/immuno-oncology, i.e., cervical, head and neck, lung, bladder, breast, and prostate cancers.

Cannabadiol (CBD) Helps Reduce Lung Damage from COVID “Cytokine Storm” by Increasing Levels of Protective Anti-Inflammatory Peptide (Apelin)

One way cannabidiol (CBD) appears to reduce the "cytokine storm" that damages the lungs and kills many patients with COVID-19 is by enabling an increase in levels of a natural peptide called apelin, which is known to reduce inflammation and whose levels are dramatically reduced in the face of this storm. [Editor’s Note: Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in cannabis derived from the hemp plant.] This summer, Dental College of Georgia (DCG) and Medical College of Georgia (MCG) researchers reported CBD's ability to improve oxygen levels and reduce inflammation as well as physical lung damage in their laboratory model of deadly adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Now, these scientists have shown that apelin levels go way down with the viral infection, which has killed 1 million people worldwide, and that CBD quickly helps normalize those levels along with lung function. "It was dramatic in both directions," says Dr. Babak Baban (left in photo), DCG Immunologist and Associate Dean for Research, of shifting apelin levels in both circulating blood and lung tissue. Blood levels of the peptide dropped close to zero in their ARDS model and increased 20 times with CBD, they report in an article published online on October 15, 2020 in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. The open-access article is titled “Cannabidiol (CBD) Modulation of Apelin in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.” "CBD almost brought it back to a normal level," said Dr. Jack Yu (right in photo), physician-scientist and Chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at MCG, commenting on the apparent first connection between CBD and apelin. Apelin is a pervasive peptide made by cells in the heart, lung, brain, fat tissue, and blood, and is an important regulator in bringing both blood pressure and inflammation down, says Dr. Baban, the study's corresponding author.