Richmond doctor shares new COVID-19 treatment success, says ‘we will get through it’

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As health officials search for the best COVID-19 treatment, a Richmond doctor is sharing his coronavirus recovery story with 8News.

Dr. Drew Jones is thanking a treatment that includes the drug Actemra, which was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test out on critical COVID-19 patients. He told 8News the full treatment also includes high-dose intravenous (IV) vitamin C and Zinc. 

“It’s been a very emotional two weeks,” Dr. Jones said. “This has changed the whole way we do medicine, the way we do research, the way we collaborate with each other.”

Dr. Jones, who works for the Pulmonary Associates of Richmond and cares for patients inside various Richmond area hospitals, told 8News, “We still don’t know all the details of how to treat this.”

The treatment plan did prove successful for one Richmond area doctor, Dr. Jeff Brown. Dr. Brown recorded and shared a video on YouTube detailing his recovery.

“Within two hours, I felt like a new person,” Brown said in the video. 

Dr. Jones told 8News the success wasn’t all in the treatment, but because he intervened and administered it earlier than usual. He said the treatment is typically used on patients whose organs are already failing. 

“I went from teetering on the brink of needing to be intubated and having organ failure, to being able to walk out the door without using any of those resources,” he said, “without taking up a ventilator, without being on dialysis,” Dr. Brown said in the video. 

However, Dr. Jones said there’s not enough of that treatment on hand to reach all COVID-19 patients.

“COVID waits for no one,” he said. “As we’re thinking about therapies and interventions, it would be great to have all the things we do when we’re doing scientific research, but like I said this is a disease of real people and real families. Time is not a luxury that we have.”

Still, he’s optimistic.

“It definitely looks like a ray of light,” Dr. Jones said. “We definitely need to do some more research and figure out the fundamentals of what’s happening. It’s gonna be strong collaborations that really help us to get through this. We will get through it.”

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