Wesley Chapel will be helping with the fight against Covid-19, and you can help, too.
Bio-pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, with $486 million from the U.S government to accelerate its Covid-19 antibody therapy, known as AZD7442, will begin Phase-III clinical trials in various cities worldwide.
Cozy Research, LLC, a research company founded in 2016 by Wesley Chapel resident Ryan DeWeese, has been contracted by AstraZeneca to help conduct one of its clinical studies of roughly 5,000 volunteers worldwide, including 100-200 people in the Wesley Chapel area.
“We’ve placed most of our other studies on hold just due to the importance of Covid treatment,” DeWeese says. “We’re dumping all our resources into this upcoming study.”
Cozy Research has three offices in Pasco County — one for cardiology in Zephyrhills with Dr. Binu Jacob, one for gastroenterology in Wesley Chapel with Dr. Saeed Ahmed and the Lifetime Family & Urgent Care office in Wesley Chapel of Dr. Jonathan Yousef.
Dr. Yousef’s office, located at 5801 Argerian Dr., off of S.R. 54, will be home to the AZD7442 clinical study.
“This is the biggest study we’ve done,” DeWeese says. “We haven’t seen anything like this (Covid) in 100 years, so it’s an all-hands-on-deck approach. This is groundbreaking stuff, and something that we’re ecstatic to be able to provide.”
Phase III trials are usually the last phase before seeking FDA approval.
If the trial is successful, AstraZeneca, which is based in Cambridge, UK, will supply 100,000 doses of the antibody therapy to the United States by the end of the year.
AZD7442 is a clone of antibodies, which are made by your immune system in response to infections. They stick to viruses and prevent them from infecting healthy cells. The antibodies used for engineering AZD7442 are derived from patients after they have recovered from being infected by the novel coronavirus, and mimic natural antibodies.
DeWeese said Cozy Research is looking for roughly 200 adults ages 18 and older to take part in the study.
They need to find people who have never been infected with Covid-19 but are at high risk of exposure. The hope is that the antibodies can protect those at high risk of getting the disease due to their jobs — like teachers, healthcare workers, service industry workers and first responders — as well as those who are over the age of 60 who may not be able to tolerate a vaccine due to other medical conditions.
Participants will receive a one-time injection of the monoclonal antibodies, which should be effective for six months to a year, and will have to check back five times over the next year to see if the antibodies are still present.
“The hope of the study is that 90 percent of the people will never end up getting Covid,” DeWeese says.
Those taking part in the antibody study will not necessarily be protected from the virus. The injection of antibodies does not replace hand washing and mask wearing, DeWeese says. “You still need to exercise caution; this is just another layer of protection.”
Cozy Research will be pre-screening patients over the phone and will give priority based on medical need or risk factors. Appointments will be Tuesday-Friday, with some Saturday openings available.
Volunteers may receive compensation for their time and travel
The study was expected to begin in early November. For more info or to see if you qualify, email Ryan@cozyresearch.com or call (813) 922-2115.