Your Health: Investigational drug designed for COVID-19 patients

Health Reports

According to the FDA, as of late last year there were 370 active trials for therapies to treat COVID-19.

From some critically ill patients, finding treatment has been trial and error.

One Connecticut family said that an internet search for options led them to an investigational drug that they said saved their loved ones life.

It’s Your Health tonight.

Baskets of get-well wishes were sent to 63-year-old Michael Didonato and his wife Lori. Both were hospitalized for COVID on the same day.

Lori got better, but 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,” said Lori Didonato, Michael’s Wife.

“It really was that critical,” said Daniel Gerardi, MD, FCCP, Chief of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford Connecticut.

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

“I looked into it. We weren’t gonna just jump on the bandwagon with some kind of quack thing,” said Didonato.

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,” said Dr. Gerardi.

The company rushed Zyesami to Saint Francis Hospital where doctors infused the drug for twelve 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,” said Didonato.

According to Michael Didonato, it sounds like it was a hail mary.

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

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