St. Dominic’s and GI Associates
partner in clinical trial to treat COVID-19

     St. Dominic’s and the research division of GI Associates are partnering in an outpatient COVID-19 clinical trial focusing on patients with early COVID-19 symptoms, treating with medications not previously reported in clinical trials.

     “St. Dominic’s is optimistic about the potential of this clinical trial to improve outcomes for COVID-19 patients,” said Eric McVey, M.D., chief medical officer and infectious disease specialist at St. Dominic Hospital. “With no commercial vaccine currently available for this new disease, this type of research is vital.”

     The goal is to provide treatment of early respiratory symptoms, thus preventing progression to hospital admission. This could also prevent the subsequent need for a ventilator and potentially reduce the mortality associated with severe cases.

     As the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for this trial, St. Dominic’s will oversee the welfare, rights and privacy of participants. Participants must be confirmed positive for the COVID-19 viral RNA (ribonucleic acid) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and will take medications (drug or placebo) twice daily to prevent progression of symptoms. Screening of potential candidates will be facilitated by St. Dominic’s, St. Dominic’s Medical Associates, and MEA clinics.

     The inspiration for the new approach comes from the research division of GI Associates of Flowood, under the direction of Reed Hogan II, M.D. After years of studying the inflammatory pathways in the GI tract, their approach is to repurpose a combination of two historically safe and highly effective active ingredients aimed at “calming” the cytokine storm that is believed to be responsible for the progression of COVID-19 into an often fatal disease.

     “We have 10 years of research on the cytokine storm and inflammation in the GI tract,” said Dr. Hogan. “Previous studies give us every reason to believe this course of treatment will be beneficial to prevent progression of COVID-19.”

     The study medications are FDA-approved in other diseases. The active ingredients are two histamine receptor blockers, Cetirizine and Famotidine. Medications for this trial have been generously donated by The Transplant Pharmacy of Flowood.

     Dr. McVey adds, “The drug combination study may provide us with insights on how to effectively treat patients early. If effective, this will be especially valuable for mild-to-moderate symptom patients.”

     For patients with diagnosed COVID-19 infection, information about this outpatient clinical trial is available at or 601.863.0395.