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Dozens of Houston's sickest COVID-19 patients picked for trial of new drug that could reduce need for ventilator by 50 percent

Participants from initial study of drug Auxora had double the recovery rate, doctors said.

HOUSTON — Dozens of the Houston area’s sickest COVID-19 patients will be part of a new drug trial that could cut their chances of needing a ventilator in half.

An initial study showed critically ill patients given the drug Auxora had double the recovery rate from the disease than those receiving standard care alone.

Doctors say they think the drug is able to block the severe inflammatory response experienced by some of the sickest patients.

The Texas Medical Center doctor conducting the study said although it’s important to find effective drugs and vaccines as soon as possible, thorough trials are essential.

Professor William Peacock, M.D., the vice chair for research at Baylor College of Medicine, said proper trials like this are necessary to make sure treatments are effective and not harmful.

“Had we given everybody Hdroxychloroquine, we’d have killed more people than we saved,” Peacock said. “So you can’t just assume. We’re putting things into people. That doesn’t work until you’ve tested it and found out the correct way with a randomized control trial.”

Selected participants for the expanded Auxora trial will be patients at Ben Taub Hospital.

Houston was selected as a location for the trial because of the regions high number of COVID-19 cases, according to the drug's maker, CalciMedica.

Results from the initial study of the drug were published in the peer-reviewed medical journal "Critical Care," which may be found here: https://rdcu.be/b6hav.