SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA (KMHL) – Avera Health says it will participate in a three Phase clinical study to evaluate a combination of antibodies to treat and prevent COVID-19.

The clinical studies are sponsored by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which was approved to move forward following positive Phase 1 safety results. Phases 2 and 3 will focus on testing the effectiveness of the drugs to either prevent or treat COVID-19. Avera is one of many sites enrolling people to study this experimental therapeutic option.

“COVID-19 has created two tremendous medical needs in the areas of treatment and prevention,” said Amy Elliott, PhD, Chief Clinical Research Officer of the Avera Center for Pediatric and Community Research. “That’s why we’ve chosen to participate in these trials – we’re not just looking at finding effective treatments, but also whether we can prevent people who have recently been exposed from getting sick.”

Avera officials say the study will focus on three different groups:

  • People hospitalized with COVID-19, evaluating if it can stop progression of the disease
  • People diagnosed with COVID-19, but not hospitalized, evaluating if it will decrease symptom severity or even prevent the disease altogether.
  • People who were exposed to someone with COVID-19, evaluating if it will decrease symptom severity or event prevent the disease altogether.

“This is a really exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of research in this area,” said Dr. Jawad Nazir, the principal investigator for the three studies and an infectious disease specialist with Avera Medical Group. “One of the reasons we chose these studies is they examine various combinations of two different antibodies, designed to specifically target this disease and how it attacks cells.”

Avera will conduct the study at it’s Avera Health campus in Sioux Falls.