PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A team at Jefferson University has the FDA's OK to begin the next phase of trials on a new COVID-19 treatment.
TVGN-489 has been under development with Tevogen Bio since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
"When the COVID epidemic hit, you know, our first thought was, well, we have expertise in the kind of cells that can fight COVID, what can we do to help?" said Dr. Neal Flomenberg, chair of the Department of Medical Oncology at Jefferson.
Flomenberg's team has been involved with bone marrow transplants and related research for over 30 years.
Instead of boosting antibodies like other drugs, TVGN-489 helps counter COVID's attack on infection-fighting T-cells.
"One of the things that COVID does when the infection is significant is that it really knocks down a person's T cells. And the T-cells that we supply fight the infection and buy enough time for the patient's own immunological response to occur," said Dr. Dolores Grosso, the principal investigator on the trial.
"It targets things all over the viral genome. It's not focused on the spike," said Flomenberg.
He adds that the experimental drug has seven targets in all, making the drug far less vulnerable to COVID's mutations.
Patients received the one-time infusion treatment during the first phase of the trial without side effects, so the FDA gave its approval for trials to continue.
The trial is open to people with COVID at high risk for serious complications, such as those with diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and other chronic conditions.
Anyone interested can call 267-239-6281 for more information.