Syracuse lab, Loretto team up for COVID study
A clinical lab in Syracuse is studying a drug that researchers hope could prevent the spread of COVID-19 in assisted living facilities like nursing homes. Over a period of six weeks, Clarity Clinical Research plans to administer a pill that contains Nitazoxinide to willing participants at one of Loretto's four assisted living facilities in central New York after one of their fellow tenants tests positive for the Coronavirus.
Lisa Sonneborn with Clarity said this drug, which is already FDA-approved and has been used to treat 400 million people for other illnesses, has shown some early success at preventing others from becoming infected once they were exposed to someone who tested positive for a virus.
"Not just COVID-19, it’s also inhibited replication of SARS and MERS and other coronaviruses, including influenza," Sonneborn said. "It was that information that prompted the study to attempt to do this with participants in long-term care facilities because of those positive results."
Long-term care facilities have been among the hardest hit groups by COVID-19. According to state data, there have been 75 confirmed COVID-related deaths among nursing home residents in Onondaga County - 43 percent of the county's death toll. That's why Julie Sheedy with Loretto said the company is participating in this study.
"We’re really talking about this community’s most vulnerable population and anything we can do collectively for the community and our residents to protect them from this is core to our mission," Sheedy said.
Sheedy said alternative safety measures like this drug will be critical for long-term care facilities moving forward if a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 is not developed.
Loretto and Clarity have previously worked together on other studies, including Alzheimer's and dementia research.