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Toledo Hospital testing new drug to treat coronavirus

Two patients who opted to try out this medication are from NW Ohio and among the first to test the treatment in the United States.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Doctors inside ProMedica Toledo Hospital are in the next phases of studies to find a new anti-inflammatory drug to treat coronavirus patients.  

"FDA phase 2 and 3 trials are going on to look into Ifenprodil which is a medication that helps block the cytokine storm that's been associated with a lot of side effects in long-term health issues associated with COVID," Jobst Vascular Institute President Dr. Gregory Kasper said. 

The drug is an oral medication to treat patients with lung issues. 

"This drug blocks that release of those inflammatory factors. That's where (the drug) should have some advantage in decreasing the severity of the clinical course, in decreasing some damage that can occur from the virus," Kasper said. 

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ProMedica experts said the drug is ready for testing. So far, there are two patients who opted to try it out but they will remain anonymous due to HIPAA regulations. 

While doctors can't release the patients' names, they said they are here from northwest Ohio and are among the first to test the treatment in the United States.

"Patients have to be COVID positive and admitted to the hospital on some type of oxygen, they cannot be on a ventilator. The goal of this trial is to look at the drug's ability to block the inflammation into revert patients from having a more severe clinical course that could progress to needing mechanical ventilation," Kasper said. 

Medical professionals say advanced technology and training helped develop the drug in just a matter of months. 

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