Volunteers needed for UAB COVID-19 treatment trials

UAB needs volunteers for COVID-19 treatment trials

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - UAB researchers are looking for volunteers to join its trials for possible COVID-19 treatments. Whether you’re seriously ill and need to be hospitalized, or just barely feeling symptoms, doctors need volunteers at every stage of the virus.

“We’re recruiting across the spectrum of disease. We are looking for people who have convalesced from COVID-19 to participate in research so we can understand the long term [condition], and we’re looking for people with acute COVID to enroll in one of our trials,” said Dr. Turner Overton, M.D., Professor of Medicine at UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

Researchers are running trials on a couple of new treatments, one of which is the same treatment used on President Trump when he was admitted to the hospital. The president got special permission to use that treatment; the FDA has not approved it yet.

Doctors say participation in these trials will not keep patients from getting what’s considered standard COVID care.

“As we learn more about how to treat COVID, and what we now consider to be the standard of care for treatment of COVID, we allow those in the study. So the trial for Regeneron is asking the question, the benefits specifically, of the antibody cocktail, but it does not prevent you from getting any of the standard of care therapies that would be indicated for your treatment,” explained Dr. Sonya Heath, M.D., Professor of Medicine at UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

Heath added, “I would just say, participating in either the convalescent plasma trial, or the Regeneron trial does not prevent your physician from giving you standard of care therapies that have been already proven to work.”

Researchers are afraid those who don’t feel significantly bad don’t feel like it’s worth it to get involved, but they need to study all stages of the virus to come up with a long term attack plan.

“I think people are scared, and they don’t know what to do," Dr. Overton said. "So I think sometimes not doing anything, when you don’t feel terrible, you feel, you know, sort of bad, but not terrible, it seems like a reasonable approach, but we just don’t know absolutely the course of this disease in any one person. And so I encourage people to consider participating, you know, maybe there’ll be benefit for them, but be without treatments. And without vaccines, we’re going to be stuck in this situation we’re in; we really need to develop treatments, for the outpatient setting.”

UAB is looking for about 50 volunteers from all over Alabama. If you’re interested in joining the trials, call 205-934-6777.

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