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Hoag Offers COVID-19 Patients Access to Three Clinical Trials

Categories: Press Room

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., April 13, 2020 --- Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian has begun enrolling patients in three clinical research trials that offer hope against the COVID-19 pandemic. Two of the trials are testing Remdesivir (RDV), a potentially promising antiviral drug, while the third trial is testing the effectiveness of immune blood plasma.

Because of its research infrastructure, Hoag is one of the few sites in the country selected to conduct these trials, as the world races to develop an effective antidote for the deadly novel coronavirus, which has claimed more than 111,000 lives worldwide, including more than 20,000 in the U.S.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic causing so much anxiety and uncertainty in America and throughout the world, we are excited to offer these hopeful clinical trials to our community,” said Philip Robinson, M.D., medical director of Infection Prevention at Hoag and principal investigator in the two RDV studies. “Hoag’s selection as a trial site is a reflection of its reputation as Orange County’s most trusted health network, and as a nationally distinguished hospital.”

RVD is thought to block the coronavirus’s ability to replicate, making it a promising weapon in the fight against COVID-19, as just reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. Manufactured by American biotechnology firm Gilead Sciences, the antiviral drug is being tested in 100 centers around the world. Hoag’s Phase 3 clinical trials involve both patients who have moderate and severe cases of COVID-19. Investigators will evaluate the drug relative to patients being treated with the current standard of care.

The third clinical trial will look at the safety and efficacy of using “convalescent plasma,” or plasma drawn from the blood of people who recovered from a COVID-19 infection.

The recovered patients’ plasma contains antibodies against the disease and could be helpful for patients with severe cases of COVID-19, said principal investigator Michael Brant-Zawadzki, M.D., F.A.C.R., senior physician executive and the Ron & Sandi Simon Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair of the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute at Hoag.

“This trial involves ‘passive antibody therapy,’ which is, in essence, a bridge to eventual vaccination meant to stimulate antibody development protecting against the virus,” Dr. Brant-Zawadzki said. “To fight a virus, the immune system uses these antibodies, or proteins that bind to parts of the virus to allow its destruction. Experience from prior outbreaks with other coronaviruses shows that such convalescent plasma contains these neutralizing antibodies targeting the virus. We expect that such treatment will diminish progression of active COVID-19 in already infected sick patients, and speed recovery.”

Providing patients with access to these potentially life-saving treatments underscores Hoag’s commitment – not only to the community it serves, but to the world, said Hoag President and CEO Robert T. Braithwaite.

“While we are a world-class medical facility, our focus has always been on our local community,” Braithwaite said. “In these unusual and urgent circumstances, with the United States now leading the world in confirmed COVID-19 cases, we believe it is important to offer our expertise and contribute to these clinical trials not only for the benefit of our patients here in Orange County, but for everyone, everywhere.”


Hoag is an approximately $1 billion nonprofit, regional health care delivery network in Orange County, California, that treats more than 30,000 inpatients and 480,000 outpatients annually. Hoag consists of two acute-care hospitals – Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, which opened in 1952, and Hoag Hospital Irvine, which opened in 2010 – in addition to nine health centers and 13 urgent care centers. Hoag is a designated Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Hoag offers a comprehensive blend of health care services that includes five institutes providing specialized services in the following areas: cancer, heart and vascular, neurosciences, women’s health, and orthopedics through Hoag’s affiliate, Hoag Orthopedic Institute, which consists of an orthopedic hospital and two ambulatory surgical centers. Hoag has been named one of the Best Regional Hospitals in the 2019 - 2020 U.S. News & World Report. For an unprecedented 23 years, residents of Orange County have chosen Hoag as one of the county’s best hospitals in a local newspaper survey. Visit www.hoag.org for more information.

To download the official press release, please click here.