St. Joseph Hospital Testing Remdesivir on Coronavirus Patients
In a recent article published by St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, health care professionals are distributing a daily infusion of Remdesivir to COVID-19 patients. This is an experimental trial to see if the antiviral drug helps promote recovery in patients.
If the medication proves to be successful, it could be an option for healthcare workers to use as a treatment for patients who are critically ill during the coronavirus pandemic. The early test results at St. Joseph seem to be promising for Remdesivir. Still, medical researchers involved in the nationwide study are not sure of Remdesivir’s effectiveness in treating COVID-19 just yet.
The antiviral drug Remdesivir is a clear liquid that is injected into a standard IV that can also treat other viruses, including Ebola and herpes. Since the medication is administered through an intravenous drip, to receive treatment, a patient must be ill enough to be hospitalized.
Patients at St. Joseph part of the trial are on a five or ten-day course. The patient receives a higher “loading” dose of Remdesivir on the first day and smaller doses each following day, according to Joscelyn Green, a registered nurse and cancer research manager at St. Joseph, who is leading the Remdesivir study. Side effects of the antiviral drug include nausea, vomiting, and headache stated by Green.
The trial of the antiviral drug started on April 9. It will be supervised by Gilead Sciences, the biotech company based out in the Bay Area that makes Redmisivir. Other hospitals participating in the nationwide study include nearby MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center.
Since the trial began April, 9 Green stated its hard to determine if Remdesivir is working, and teams will have to follow-up with patients after a month to track their progress. The exact number of patients that are involved in the study was not immediately released to maintain patient privacy.
St. Joseph Hospital is also testing other forms of treatment besides Remdesivir. Earlier in April physicians transfused the blood plasma from a patient who recovered from COVID-19 into an older man who was hospitalized due to the coronavirus. Physicians turned to this treatment in hopes that the same antibodies that fought the disease in one patient could do the same in the other.
The blood plasma donated by a recovered 36-year-old man from San Diego has been given to two other patients with coronavirus since the initial transfusion. The conditions of both patients are not yet public, but the hospital has called for more plasma donations. Other than research and tests, Green stated that nurses are providing absolute care to patients critically ill with COVID-19 every step of the way.
New Promising COVID-19 Vaccine Selects Hoag Hospital for Trial
UCI graduate Chen Cao became the first of 35 individuals to be vaccinated in NantKwest Inc. and ImmunityBio’s phase 1 clinical trial for COVID-19. This trial is only happening at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, CA.
According to the WHO, there are 44 vaccine candidates in clinical evaluation worldwide and another 154 in preclinical evaluation. Most are targetting the coronavirus’ signature spike protein, which leads to its name “corona,” meaning “crown” in Latin.
NantKwest/ImmunityBio’s vaccine also does the same, but it also targets structures within the virus’ cytoplasm called nucleocapsids that have been shown to stimulate T-cell responses.
Philip Robinson, Hoag’s medical director of infection prevention and principal investigator for the vaccine trial, states, “This vaccine is novel because it stimulates the second arm of the immune system, the cell-mediated immunity, the T-cell response.”
Based on SARS-CoV 1, he added that patients who developed that T-cell and cellular immune response have long-lasting immunity that can be measured 17 years after they got infected. T-cell responses are more durable than antibody responses activated by the spike protein alone and develop a much longer-term immunity, the company states.
This vaccine’s dual-edged approach is a “key advantage” that could also prevail in mutations in the spike proteins, which might reduce the efficacy of “S-only” vaccines moving forward. There are several other features that the NantKwest/ImmunityBio vaccine has that is generating enthusiasm.
While several vaccine candidates are using adenoviruses — which cause the common cold — to transfer the coronavirus’ genetic material into the human body to hopefully induce an immune response, however, there’s a potential risk that the body’s immune systems could recognize the cold virus and attack before it can complete its task. This vaccine overcomes this challenge by making deletions to the adenovirus that render it invisible, Robinson said.
Similar to other vaccine candidates, this one will consist of two shots, three weeks apart. But apart from many others, it won’t need to be stored in frigid temperatures, which can pose significant logistical challenges.
Instead, it just requires standard refrigeration and can remain viable at room temperature “for quite a long time,” Robinson said. Down the line might also be delivered by mouth or by nasal spray, rather than just by injection, making administration even easier.
Last Wednesday, five volunteers received their first injections at Hoag, and five more will get their first injections this week, according to Deborah Fridman, Hoag’s director of clinical research. There will be a pause after each set of 10 to review the safety, side effects, and immune system reactions.
This phase 1 trial’s primary goal is to confirm the vaccine’s safety and induces immunity, Fridman said. If proven successful, it will expand into phases 2 and 3 next year, recruiting hundreds, and then thousands, of participants.
Hoag Hospital has participated in more than 20 COVID-19 clinical trials since caring for the state’s first known COVID-19 patient in January. Hoag has given patients access to advanced therapies and innovative treatments, officials said. Though, this vaccine is its first COVID-related vaccine trial.
The hospital has expanded its research department in recent years. Hoag has a relationship with Los Angeles County-based NantKwest, Inc., and ImmunityBio is the only Orange County hospital. It is the only nonacademic institution to offer the companies’ phase 2 immunotherapy clinical trial for solid tumors.
Patient No. 1 Chen Cao must report any side effects to Hoag immediately. She has a diary to record how she’s feeling and will return regularly for evaluation and blood draws.
Anyone interested in participating should email email@example.com.
Health Officials in Orange County Warn Residents of Flu and Coronavirus ‘twindemic’
Fall has officially begun with another flu season in store, but this year, public health officials and politicians are warning the flu could increase the demand on Orange County’s health care grid, which has been stressed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A second outbreak is a primary concern with cooling temperatures approaching, and relaxing pandemic rules could lead to more people gathering in tighter quarters.
County leaders are urging residents to maintain their pandemic habits, to help prevent a so-called “twindemic” of influenza and the coronavirus, and advise residents to get a flu shot.
Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and professor of public health at UCI, states that the driving factor is COVID, a new virus, and the flu shot is not.
Both are respiratory diseases with similar transmission modes such as coughs and sneezes spouting infectious droplets around – the flu has been around for centuries, and health systems know how to manage it, Noymer stated.
The COVID-19 countermeasures like wearing face masks, social distancing, and frequent hand washing will also work against the flu.
One concern is that both diseases share symptoms that could cause the lesser-studied COVID-19 to spread undetected if a sick person believes they have the flu, Noymer said. That will be a challenge for an already stressed healthcare system, he said.
Annual flu hospitalizations could cause hospitals to maintain pandemic surge plans that added beds and staff. Healthcare providers are spreading the message to their patients ahead of the expected strain.
This week, Kaiser Permanente emailed Orange County members with a video explaining the differences between a seasonal cold, the flu, and COVID-19.
The differences between all three can be hard to distinguish, which is why mild coronavirus cases might go undetected, the video explains. The main symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, with onset up to two weeks after exposure. As with influenza or the flu, it starts suddenly with fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches.
Meanwhile, common colds slowly take hold with symptoms, including a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, headaches, and high fevers are rare.
The flu kills 60,000 people per year nationwide, Noymer said, but “COVID-19 has killed 200,000, and the year is not even over yet,”
According to public health data, since 2017, influenza and pneumonia have killed an average of 576 people per year in Orange County. Since March, the COVID-19 death toll among residents has climbed to more than 1,100 people.
For health experts, the coronavirus still is the wildcard as winter approaches. Noymer further added that the county’s population is more susceptible to COVID than the flu because they have flu shots and currently don’t have a COVID shot.
The ongoing coronavirus spread could create a second wave of cases caused by business and school reopenings as well as changes in temperature and humidity.
Recently, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a Senate subcommittee he suspects a COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the U.S. by December in limited supply.
For more information on disinfecting and sanitization measures click here.
Best in Healthcare
Top ENT Specialists in Orange County
Otolaryngologists are physicians who are trained to treat patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT). They are commonly referred to as ENT physicians.
Otolaryngologists are physicians that specialize in the treatment and management of diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat, and related bodily structures that provide both medical and surgical care.
Wordofhealth.com would like to list the top ENTs within the Orange County area. These ENTs have gone above and beyond in providing quality care to patients.
Please note that these providers were selected on the basis of google and yelp reviews. This is not a ranking article.
Dr. Kenneth Zuckerman is a board-certified otolaryngologist and has a private practice located in Irvine, California since July 1986 and has been in his current establishment since July 1991. He attended Emory University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1977. He then attended New York University School of Medicine, graduating in 1981. Dr. Zuckerman completed his internship and residency at the University of California Irvine Medical Center and has been on the staff of Hoag Hospital since 1986. He has served as Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology and is on the Newport Plaza Surgery Center staff. In addition to Dr. Zuckerman’s vast medical background, he serves on the Board of Directors of Greater Newport Physicians.
Charles Oh, M.D.
Dr. Oh received a medical degree and completed his residency at Wayne State University Medical School and completed a fellowship in Rhinology and Advanced Sinus Surgery. He worked as an instructor of Otolaryngology at Vanderbilt University.
Furthermore, Dr. Oh is a Fellow of the American Association of Otolaryngic Allergy and a member of the Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
John Supance, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.A.P
Dr. John Supance is an ENT in Mission Viejo, CA, who graduated from Ohio State University School of Medicine. Dr. Supance is a board-certified in Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, a Charter Member of the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He also completed two years of training in General Surgery and a residency program at the University of Cincinnati in Head and Neck Surgery. During his time at the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Supance was awarded the Alter Peerless Award for excellence as Chief Resident.
He then spent the following year at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in the Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship training program. Followed by two years of academic instruction at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as a full-time Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, where he received the Seymour Cohen Award for scientific research in Pediatric Otolaryngology.
He has served as Chief of Otolaryngology, Chief of Surgery, member-at-large on the Medical Staff Executive Committee, Chief of Staff-elect, and Chief of Staff at Children’s Hospital of Orange County at Mission Hospital.
Dr. Kathy Yu-Syken M.D.
Dr. Kathy Yu-Syken is an ENT who provides comprehensive services for a complete range of ear, nose, and throat conditions at her practice, Oceann ENT, in Huntington Beach, California.
Dr. Yu-Syken graduated from the University of Riverside and University of California Los Angeles seven-year biomedical sciences program, magna cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. She then completed her bi-campus residency training in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery in New York at Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Dr. Yu-Syken is among the few surgeons who are certified in conducting minimally invasive balloon sinuplasty as an in-office procedure without needing general anesthesia. Dr. Yu-Syken is currently a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Yu-Syken has presented her work at several national otolaryngology meetings and is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology.
Philip Chronis M.D.
Dr. Philip N. Chironis is on staff at Hoag Hospital Newport Beach and Newport Beach Surgery Center. He obtained his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Adelphi University in 1979 and his medical degree from Tulane Medical School in 1983.
He completed a General Surgery Internship at North Shore Hospital/Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Chironis completed his Otolaryngology residency at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
He has practiced in Newport Beach for over 17 years, and has developed special areas of expertise ranging from adult to pediatric surgery using the latest methods for endoscopic sinus surgery, deviated septums, tonsillectomy, voice disorders, neck disorders, phonosurgery and somnoplasty for snoring.
Dr. Chironis is a diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology and is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the Orange County Medical Association.
Dr. Tjoson Tjoa M.D.
Dr. Tjoa is an Assistant Clinical Professor at UC Irvine Health and specializes in operative treatments for head and neck cancer, salivary gland surgery, major reconstructive surgery, microvascular techniques, thyroid surgery, and skull base surgery
Dr. Tjoa earned his undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his medical degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, Virginia. He completed an internship in general surgery followed by a head and neck surgery residency at the UC Irvine School of Medicine.
Following his residency he completed a clinical fellowship in head and neck surgical oncology and microvascular reconstruction at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts General Hospital in the Department of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and served as Clinical Instructor. Just recently he was featured on the Southern California Rising Stars list, as nominated by other physicians.
Alexis Furze, M.D.
Alexis Furze, MD, FACS, practices in Newport Beach, California, and is double board-certified in facial and reconstructive plastic surgery and head and neck surgery.
After receiving his medical degree from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Florida, Dr. Furze proceeded his training in otolaryngology with a residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Furze then completed his fellowship at the University of California, Irvine.
Dr. Furze is certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology in Head and Neck Surgery.
Dr. Furze was named Physical of Excellence by the Orange County Medical Association in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. He was recently named Chairman of Dr. Furze currently serves as the Chairman of his multi-specialty department at Hoag Hospital.
Dr. Furze is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology in Head and Neck Surgery and by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a combination that allows him to treat several different cosmetic and functional issues in one procedure.
As evidence of his expert care, Dr. Furze was named a Physical of Excellence by the Orange County Medical Association in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 and was recently named Chairman of Dr. Furze currently serves as the Chairman of his multi-specialty department at Hoag Hospital.
Monica Kieu, D.O., FACS
Monica Kieu, D.O., FACS, is a board-certified specialist in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Kieu received her medical degree from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona and completed her residency at Michigan State University/Detroit Medical Center in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, where she was chief resident.
Dr. Kieu completed her fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Toronto and has authored numerous articles and presentations for peer-reviewed medical journals and conferences.
She was recently named one of LA’s Top Docs by Los Angeles Magazine. Dr. Kieu is currently a member of many major medical associations, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; American Osteopathic Colleges of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery; and the American Rhinologic Society.
Dr. Kieu currently serves as an assistant clinical professor for the Department of Surgical Services at Michigan State University. Dr. Kieu frequently lectures and demonstrates her aesthetic techniques to fellow physicians and health care providers.
Ashley Balaker, M.D
Dr. Balaker is board certified in Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and a subspecialist in Otology – Neurotology. She graduated from USC Keck School of Medicine after earning a B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from UCLA.
She completed her residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at UCLA. Dr. Balaker then completed a two-year subspecialty Fellowship in Otology/Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery at the California Ear Institute in Palo Alto, California.
She is also experienced in minimally invasive surgery for the ears and sinuses, including endoscopic transcanal ear surgery, surfer’s ear surgery, balloon sinuplasty, and endoscopic balloon dilation of the eustachian tube.
Dr. Balaker also performs surgery for hearing restoration, including laser stapedotomy for otosclerosis and cochlear implantation for profound hearing loss.
N.X. Nguyen, M.D.
Nghia Nguyen, MD, provides extensive otolaryngology services to Orange County residents at Comprehensive Ear Nose Throat in Huntington Beach, CA. Dr. Nguyen is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and is an active member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.
Dr. Nguyen has over 15 years of experience, and treated nearly 40,000 patients for various ear, nose, and throat (ENT) conditions. He also specializes in allergies and immunotherapy and is experienced in endoscopic surgeries for treating sinuses, thyroid conditions, ear problems, and in-office balloon sinuplasty.
Following his undergraduate degree in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at UCLA, Dr. Nguyen obtained his medical degree from the University of Southern California. He completed his otolaryngology residency at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Dr. Nguyen takes a dynamic approach by staying up-to-date with the latest technologies in endoscopic surgeries. He offers advanced diagnostic and treatment options for conditions like sinusitis, sleep apnea, ear infections, and hearing issues.
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