ECRMC to Participate in Clinical Trial Using Tocilizumab For COVID-19 Positive Pneumonia Patients

EL CENTRO, CA – June 18, 2020 - ECRMC has announced participation in a clinical trial using tocilizumab, brand name Actemra, to treat COVID 19 positive pneumonia patients.

This trial will study the drug tocilizumab and evaluate its safety and efficacy in the treatment of patients with severe COVID 19 pneumonia. Tocilizumab is an approved treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. It may also help treat patients who have developed or are at risk of developing serio us lung damage from COVID 19 infections.

“There are no specific therapies for COVID 19 at this time, but several are being investigated and are in clinical trials, said Jorge F. Robles, MD, Principal Investigator and Chair of Outpatient Clinics at ECRMC. Tocilizumab is one of the therapies bringing hope for treating this aggressive viral infection. We are very happy to participate in this trial and optimistic about its benefits to our patients at ECRMC.”

This Phase III clinical trial was approved by the US Food Drug Administration early spring. While there are several independent clinical trials on the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab for COVID 19 patients, this new trial will be a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial.

A double blind and placebo controlled clinical study is one in which neither the participant nor the researcher knows who is getting the drug treatment and who is getting the p lacebo in a controlled group.

Participants must be over 18 and hospitalized with a diagnose s of COVID 19 pneumonia and evidence of impaired gas exchange. Patients will receive one intravenous infusion of either tocilizumab or the placebo. A second infusion may be given if clinical symptoms worsen or improve. Funding and resources for the trial are provided by the pharmaceutical company Genetech/Roche, which makes Actemra.

Patient participants will be followed for 60 days post randomization and an interim analysis will be conducted for early evidence of efficacy. Up to 60 ECRMC patients will participate in this study.

It is important to note that these medical trials will be conducted by professionals in a controlled environment. The medications will be administered to participants by physicians who will monitor and evaluate the patients to ensure their safety.

About El Centro Regional Medical Center

El Centro Regional Medical Center is an acute-care medical center, serving the health care needs of the Imperial Valley since 1956. In addition to a 161-bed hospital facility, ECRMC also owns and operates a state-of-the-art Medical Office Building housing the Oncology & Hematology Center, Wound Healing Center, Outpatient Imaging services, as well as numerous specialty clinics. Off-campus facilities include two outpatient clinics in El Centro and Calexico and a Community Education Center located at the Imperial Valley Mall. ECRMC provides comprehensive healthcare services for residents seeking enhanced well-being and improved quality of life.

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