Baylor College of Medicine a research site for clinical trial targeting COVID pneumonia

Scientist in laboratory stock art
Baylor College of Medicine will be one of 50 research sites for a clinical trial testing the immunomodulator drug, Tocilizumab, on COVID-19 pneumonia. (Courtesy Pexels)

Baylor College of Medicine will be one of 50 research sites for a clinical trial testing the immunomodulator drug, Tocilizumab, on COVID-19 pneumonia. (Courtesy Pexels)

Baylor College of Medicine will be one of 50 research sites worldwide undergoing a clinical trial for a new treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

The goal is to enroll an estimated 330 participants in total across all the testing sites by May 2020. The Baylor site is pulling from Baylor College of Medicine as well as Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital, according to a news release.

“The organ most commonly affected by COVID-19 is the lung, causing pneumonia for some patients and leading to difficulty breathing,” said Dr. Ivan O. Rosas, chief of the pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine section in the Department of Medicine and the lead investigator at the Baylor site in the release.

The drug Tocilizumab (TCZ) will be tested alongside placebo in a randomized, controlled study, where both the investigator and participant are blinded to who is receiving treatment. Eligible participants, including hospitalized patients diagnosed with severe COVID-19 pneumonia confirmed with chest imaging, will be given an IV infusion with either a predetermined dose of TCZ or a placebo drug and may be given additional dosages if they show no sign of improvement.

The drug is being tested because TCZ could potentially target the body’s immune response to the virus, which is thought to be abnormally increased and described by others as a “cytokine storm,” the hyper-immune response triggered by the viral pneumonia, according to the release.


The working hypothesis from researchers is that because TCZ has been successfully used to treat hyperimmune responses in cancer patients undergoing treatment with immunotherapy, then the drug should have a similar effect to those with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

Biotechnology company Genentech is sponsoring the trial.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


MOST RECENT

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Houston’s Galleria will add several new high-end luxury brands. (Courtesy Simon)
The Galleria announces new restaurant, luxury brand additions

Moncler, the French-Italian apparel manufacturer and lifestyle brand, will be bringing its well-known jackets and sportswear for the first time in Houston.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church and School has received an up to $500,000 commitment that will go toward rebuilding its campus due to Hurricane Harvey-incurred flood damage. (Rendering courtesy St. Thomas Episcopal Church and School)
St. Thomas Episcopal receives $500K commitment for campus rebuild

The donations are aimed at helping St. Thomas complete its $10 million Fulfilling the Promise capital campaign.

Houston City Council approved ordinances expanding and funding Houston’s BCycle program on April 14. (Courtesy Houston BCycle)
Houston City Council OKs expansion of BCycle sites

City Council approved the addition of 11 new BCycle kiosk bike stations.

West University Place City Council has approved a $1.7 million contract for the second phase of its Virtual Gate camera system. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
West University council OKs $1.7 million for Virtual Gate second phase

Minuteman Security Technologies, the contractor for the project’s first phase, was tapped for the new contract.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homes priced above $750,000, such as this one in the Heights, saw a surge in sales in March, with almost twice as many properties sold. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Average Houston single-family home price jumps 20% in March

The average sale price for a home in March was $370,847.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Spearheaded by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, the new court, if established, would expand the capacity of the county's criminal court system in hopes of reducing its backlog, which stood at 70,951 total cases pending before criminal district courts in Harris County as of April 8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County supports creation of new criminal district court to tackle case backlog

If the efforts are successful, this would be Harris County's first new criminal district court since 1984 when the 351st District Court was created.

A traffic and pedestrian safety-focused project on Hillcroft Avenue in Gulfton has officially broken ground. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Construction underway for Gulfton street safety project

Contractors will redesign the section of Hillcroft Avenue from Bellaire Boulevard to High Star Drive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.