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Seattle researchers excited about initial results of COVID-19 immunotherapy treatment given under expanded use

The treatment being developed by the Infectious Disease Research Insitute aims to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients before they need a ventilator.

SEATTLE — A Seattle nonprofit says early results are positive on a clinical trial for immunotherapy on COVID patients.

Dr. Corey Casper is the CEO of the Infectious Disease Research Institute, which started the trial earlier this year, and says the initial results are "promising."

"The goal is to administer this immune therapy to patients who are not yet needing that intensive support, but are in the hospital and prevent them from having to go on the ventilator. So the main outcomes we're looking at are how quickly they get over their COVID-19 disease, whether we can prevent them from needing this intensive care," said Casper on Thursday, who is also a clinical professor of global health at the University of Washington.

He's also been keeping a close eye on the COVID vaccine trials occuring around the country, and the globe, and say he's more positive today than just a few months ago.

"There are 172 vaccines that are being developed as of right now, probably more we don't even know about. But we think that adding these immune stimulants will be critical," Casper said.  "But to my eye, when I look at those early phase results, what I see is that those vaccines allow for immune responses that are about equal to people who have recovered from COVID. Generally when we make a vaccine we'd like to see responses that are much better than people who recovered from the disease."

He says that could mean a vaccine may involve multiple doses.

"I think that there are probably a number of different vaccines that could work, and many of them may require repeat doses of that vaccine," Casper said.

He remains hopeful that there could be a solution by the first quarter of next year, but even so, it will take even longer for broader access.

"We've taken a lot of shots on goal, we've had a lot of misses," he said, "But you know, I'm a big fan of soccer. And, you know, it's like the penalty kick. So you kick a lot of balls in and you know, the goalie blocks a lot of them out, but you just need a couple of good ones to win the game."

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