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

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at Juergen's Hall Community Center in Cy-Fair. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County’s early-voting turnout up 23% over same time frame in 2016 general election

The five busiest polling locations in Harris County have averaged more than 1,700 in-person voters daily thus far during early voting.

Houston City Council passed a tax rate Oct. 21 of $0.56184 per $100 valuation for fiscal year 2020-21, a 1.07% reduction from the previous year’s tax rate of $0.56792 per $100 valuation. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Houston approves lower tax rate for fiscal year 2020-21 amid calls for further reductions

The rate may still result in an increase for some taxpayers with the average homestead property value rising about 4%.

The 2020 Bellaire Arts & Crafts Festival has been canceled. (Courtesy Pexels)
2020 Bellaire Arts & Crafts Festival canceled; spring iteration still a possibility

The culture and arts board brought back the festival from a 10-year hiatus in 2019.

Target has built out its new store at 2075 Westheimer Road, Houston. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Target to open fourth Inner Loop location and more Houston-area business, community news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Baylor College of Medicine is seeking volunteers for a COVID-19 study looking to determine the prevalence of the viral disease in the Houston area. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine)
Baylor College of Medicine recruiting participants for COVID-19 prevalence study

The study will collect samples from 70,000 individuals nationwide.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston region in 2017. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Houston hydrologist explains climate change’s role in intensified flooding, importance of planning for future storms

“We’re looking at more intense and more frequent storms, and so, as a region, we’re going to need to think about that when we’re planning. We need to plan for that worst-case climate change [scenario].”

Some Harris County residents could be eligible for free workforce training. (Courtesy Lone Star College System)
Harris County partners with Lone Star College to offer free workforce training this fall

Furloughed, unemployed and underemployed Harris County residents could be eligible for one of 17 training programs.

The COVID-19 recession, which is considered to have started both domestically and globally in late February, is unlike any other economic downturn in recent history, one expert said: It could potentially be much longer-lasting than a traditional recession. (Courtesy Pexels)
Sales tax revenue rebounds in some Houston cities following COVID-19 shutdowns

While revenue data shows both positive and negative regional trends in 2020, experts said businesses must brace for more changes as the economy fluctuates.

Lanier Middle School
Houston ISD: 17 campuses close with confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19

The district's is reporting 90 total cases, including 10 cases among students, as of Oct. 20.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Greater Houston region faces glut of industrial, commercial space and multifamily housing

While the Greater Houston area has seen a glut of office space for the last six years, Patrick Jankowski said the industrial buildup has happened more in the past year and a half.

Bellaire City Council has decided against allocating $150,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funding to set up a small-business program. (Adobe Stock Photo)
Bellaire City Council holds off on business relief with CARES Act funding

Instead, council members agreed that the $1 million should remain in the general fund.