Atrium begins clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Atrium Health is getting results working to save lives in coronavirus patients by offering its first clinical trial. The cancer drug Selinexor is now being tested against the coronavirus.

Four Charlotte-area Atrium hospitals are offering the clinical trial: Atrium Health-Cabarrus, Pineville, University, and Main.

“To be able to offer hope for a treatment option is an amazing feeling,” said Dr. Zainab Shahid with Atrium Health who has seen the coronavirus rob patients of their health. “As a person who has cared for these patients, it’s a feeling of immense hopelessness when you see that some of them become so, so sick.”

She’s hopeful that the answer to saving lives and helping people heal from COVID-19 is in a pill called Selinexor.

Atrium Health has just screened its first COVID-19 patient as part of a clinical trial for Selinexor.

In the past, the drug has been used to treat myeloma cancer.

Now, Dr. Shahid says Selinexor has shown promise in the lab and in coronavirus patients.

“It was a compassionate use drug given to a patient where nothing else worked and as of now, there are two reports showing those patients did wonderful,” she said.

The doctor says the idea behind using Selinexor is to kill the coronavirus in patients with moderate to severe symptoms.

She says the drug also works to decrease inflammation that causes respiratory failure.

She says sometimes patients get sick to their stomachs with the drug, but that it shows pretty unparalleled promise in both a petri dish and in patients.

“I haven’t seen a lot of that related to COVID-19 thus far,” she said.

The treatment for patients in the clinical trial lasts two weeks, but it could be months before we know if the drug is working. Two hundred and fifty patients worldwide are expected to be part of the clinical trial.

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