BOSSIER CITY, La. - The Shreveport-Bossier medical community is playing a significant role in fighting the coronavirus. What's happening in the local research community between medical professionals and the people who have been infected with the virus could have an impact around the globe.
"My husband serves the community working on an ambulance. I'm pretty sure he had it and was asymptomatic and brought it home," said Maddison Wood, a Bossier resident who tested positive for COVID-19, so did her son Jaxx.
"I had pretty bad chest pains, lost my appetite and soon after that my sense of taste and smell went away," said Wood.
Within 48 hours Maddison was enrolled in a clinical research study at Willis-Knighton involving the Regeneron cocktail treatment for COVID-19. The same treatment former President Donald Trump received.
"They started an IV and took 13 vials of blood," said Wood.
"We were anticipating to do 10 patients locally, and I think at last count were at 340," said Carrie Kay, Willis-Knighton director of clinical research. "We're actually the number one recruiting site in the United States."
"The Regeneron that we're studying here in town is two monoclonal antibodies that bind specifically to that spike protein. What we're watching over a month of the study is to see symptoms decrease, we're watching to see that the viral load decreases as well as even the ability to be contagious and transmit the virus," said Dr. Clint Wilson of Willis-Knighton Bossier.
"About five days later after I got the treatment I was feeling better. I was still really tired, but my symptoms overall, other than the loss of taste and smell, had gone away," said Wood.
"Patients are doing well. We're seeing about a 40% reduction in symptoms. They're also seeing a reduction in viral shedding which is crazy exciting because that may actually be a way for us to not only treat our patients symptomatically, but be able to control the virus," said Kay.
This study is being conducted locally, but its impact could soon be felt far away from the ArkLaTex.
"The fact that we're seeing such significant benefit from this medicine is not just helpful to the multiple hundreds of folks we've been able to give it to here, making them have better symptoms and not feel sick as long, this is something that is going to be seen around the country and even more around the world," said Wilson.
People who take part in the study are compensated several thousand dollars if they complete all of the requirements, which includes weekly visits for about a month where blood samples are taken and they have to complete a daily diary which is done through an app on their phone. Picking up some extra cash is good but ultimately Maddison said it's about helping others.
"The more people you can help the better," said Wood.