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UB Jacobs School selected for youth clinical trial of COVID drug

Dr. Steven Lipshultz
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
University at Buffalo
Dr. Steven Lipshultz

Pfizer has selected the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine to be part of an international study of its antiviral drug Paxlovid, and its potential to treat juvenile COVID patients.

The oral treatment, which the FDA approved for emergency treatment of adult patients in December 2021, was found to reduce hospitalizations and even fatalities among symptomatic adult COVID patients.

“Children below a certain age have not had any vaccinations for COVID because none have been approved. That makes them at particularly high risk for being sick with COVID and having that progress. And we've certainly had children hospitalized at the Oishei Children's Hospital since the start of COVID, and that's what we're trying to avoid with this study,” said Dr. Steven Lipshultz, who chairs Pediatrics at the UB Jacobs School.

Pfizer commenced its international study in March, and UB has already begun taking in participants. To qualify, the child must be between the ages of 12 and 18, weigh at least 88 pounds, has tested positive for COVID within the past five days and is symptomatic, and is at risk for those symptoms increasing to more serious complications.

This study is “open label,” meaning every child who participates will receive the medication. None will be administered a placebo.

“If this is really effective, what we might expect to see is the children may be cleared to go back to school sooner than if they really weren't treated, if the medication leads to a quicker and better recovery,” Lipshultz said.

Parents interested in enrolling their child into this clinical trial may contact study coordinator Patti O’Leary at 716-829-5773 or at pcoleary@buffalo.edu.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.