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Carteret Health Care Medical Group to Participate in COVID-19 Antibody Study

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Elise Clouser of Carteret News Times

MOREHEAD CITY — Carteret Health Care was selected by the drug company Eli Lilly to participate in a COVID-19 treatment study utilizing antibodies to help patients overcome the disease.

Dr. Clyde Brooks informed the CHC Board of Directors about the hospital’s participation in the study Oct. 26 during a board meeting. Board members met in person at the hospital, while others, including the News-Times, attended by teleconference.

“It is somewhat of an honor for us to be invited by (Eli Lilly) to participate,” Dr. Brooks said Monday.

CHC is one of several hospitals nationwide that have been tapped to help Eli Lilly test the use of monoclonal antibodies as a treatment for COVID-19. Dr. Brooks told the News-Times a minimum of six patients will be enrolled in the study, which will last a duration of three months. The hospital can begin enrolling people Monday.

To be eligible for the study, a patient must test positive for COVID-19 and have certain risk factors that put them at higher risk for developing complications from the disease. Dr. Brooks said patients will be identified through CHC’s outpatient clinics.

Two to three days after they are identified, participants will be randomly administered either the antibody treatment or a placebo, which has no effect, and their progress will be monitored over time.

Dr. Brooks said the hospital will follow strict study guidelines set by Eli Lilly, which is supplying all the necessary equipment to administer the treatment and monitor patients. Study participants will be paid, and Dr. Brooks said there is no cost to the hospital to participate.

The goal of the treatment is to reduce the severity of illness and keep people out of the hospital, Dr. Brooks said. He noted the New England Journal of Medicine this week published interim study results showing monoclonal antibody treatments, like the one CHC will test, appear to help patients overcome COVID-19. During the study, patients who received the antibody treatments tended to fare better and were hospitalized at a lower rate than those who received the placebo.

“(That is) big news for this treatment,” Dr. Brooks said.

Dr. Mary Katherine Lawrence, a clinical researcher with the Carteret Medical Group who has conducted numerous clinical studies, is leading the antibody treatment study for CHC.

Even as the hospital is helping contribute to the search for a COVID-19 treatment, CHC officials are considering the possibility of having to contend with the pandemic long term.

“We will likely be in this for a while, so our jobs are to prepare for the long haul predicted by a number of (experts),” CHC President Harvey Case reported during the Monday board meeting. “For the next 12 to 24 months, up to 10 percent of our census (of daily inpatients) could be tied up with (COVID-19).”

Mr. Case acknowledged the recent uptick in confirmed cases and resulting hospitalizations and deaths. As of Monday, CHC had admitted 72 COVID-19 patients, with a record high of 12 patients hospitalized at a single time occurring Oct. 14. The majority of patients do not require a ventilator, Mr. Case said.

Contact Elise Clouser at; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.