UPMC announces new clinical testing that will include several different COVID-19 treatments

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh isn't looking like New York City or Seattle when it comes to coronavirus cases, but it is leading the way in finding a treatment for those with COVID-19.

“It looks like we flattened the curve,” said UPMC Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Don Yealy.

Yealy delivered the news we've all been waiting to hear -- social distancing appears to be working in western Pennsylvania.

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“The number of people seeking and receiving care is increasing. But we're not seeing the spikes and surges seen in other parts of the country,” Yealy said.

While dealing with fewer cases, UPMC said they're at the forefront of developing a treatment.

The hospital system announced a new type of clinical testing underway that will use several different treatments, including the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been pushed by President Trump.

“All of them take a long time, they're only usually done in large university hospitals. We do not have the luxury of time, we must try to learn while doing,” UPMC Critical Care Medicine Chair Dr. Derek Angus.

Doctors will use artificial intelligence to track patient progress reports from around the world.

Angus said it will allow them to track which treatments show the most promising results in real time.

“When a patient shows up at Passavant and is being randomized, the recipe they are assigned is based on information we have been receiving from patients that have been enrolled in London, Amsterdam and Sidney,” Angus said.

Any patient with the coronavirus who's hospitalized at UPMC with moderate to severe coronavirus symptoms will have the option of being part of the trial.

Angus said this treatment will only be available to those hospitalized at this point. Although, the way things are changing, that could also change in the near future.