ZYESAMI: Investigational drug for COVID?

Health Watch

COLUMBUS, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—According to the FDA, as of late last year there were 370 active trials for therapies to treat COVID-19. For some critically ill patients, finding treatment has been trial and error. Therapies that worked for some made no impact on others. One Connecticut family says an internet search for options led them to an investigational drug that they say saved their loved one’s life.

Baskets of get-well wishes for 63-year-old Michael DiDonato and his wife Lori. Both were hospitalized with COVID on the same day. Lori got better; Michael wound up on a ventilator … hovering near death.

“There were a couple of days like that, where we went to bed thinking, you know, preparing ourselves, we might get a call tonight, you know, we have to be prepared for that,” recalled Michael’s wife, Lori DiDonato.

“It really was that critical,” stated Daniel A. Gerardi, MD, FCCP, Chief, Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, CT.

Michael’s son began searching for survivor stories and read about a Florida doctor who recovered after treatment with an experimental drug known now as ZYESAMI.

“I looked into it, we weren’t gonna just jump on the bandwagon with some kind of quack thing,” Lori shared.

In order to get access to the therapy, the DiDonato’s physician had to ask the drug company to allow compassionate use.

“This was a novel therapy that had some good data, preliminary data, about its anti-inflammatory effect, and evasive dilator effect, so that it might improve a patient’s oxygenation,” explained Dr. Gerardi.

The company rushed ZYESAMI to St. Francis Hospital where doctors infused the drug for 12 hours, three days in a row. After a second round of the therapy, Michael began to respond.

“We couldn’t believe it. We were so joyful,” Lori exclaimed.

“Sounds like it was a Hail Mary,” Michael DiDonato shared.

Michael’s voice is weak and he uses a walker, but he’s thankful to be here … and working to get stronger every day.

The DiDonatos say their entire family played a huge role in coordinating the quick delivery of the drug to the hospital, and they says they’re convinced ZYESAMI played a role in Michael’s recovery. Dr. Gerardi says there’s still not enough science to confirm that the drug worked. A phase three clinical trial of ZYESAMI started at the end of April. Michael was not part of that trial.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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