Dr. William Baker of Centric Health is the local lead for a clinical trial investigating if a commonly used anti-inflammatory drug can help prevent severe illness in those with COVID-19. People in Bakersfield and Kern County recently diagnosed with COVID-19 are being sought to participate.

People in Kern County diagnosed with COVID-19 who are managing the illness at home can participate in a clinical trial to test the efficacy of a common anti-inflammatory drug in reducing hospitalizations and death from the coronavirus.

The trial is taking place in several locations in Canada, France, Spain and the United States, and is being conducted locally through Centric Health.

Colchicine, the drug being studied, has been used for decades to treat gout and more recently has been found effective in treating inflammation in patients with heart problems. The clinical trial will determine if the drug's anti-inflammatory effect when given early on to a COVID-19 patient prevents the development of a cytokine storm, which is a severe immune response that leads to many of the COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.

"The idea is if we can prevent that initial inflammatory response from ever developing, we can reduce hospitalizations and death," said Centric Health's Dr. William Baker, who is the local coordinator for the trial.

Dr. David Waters, professor emeritus of cardiology at UC San Francisco and assistant principal investigator for the study, cited children as examples of how controlling the inflammatory immune response brought on by COVID-19 in some patients may be a way to reduce poor patient outcomes.

"Children were relatively spared by the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918, and we see the same pattern with COVID-19. This may be because cytokine storm is less likely in children,” Waters said in a UC San Francisco news release.

The university was one of the first clinical sites in the United States for the trial. The study is being led by the Montreal Heart Institute and is funded by the National Institutes for Health, the Quebec government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Those eligible for the study must have tested positive for COVID-19 or received a doctor's diagnosis and be 40 or older with a high-risk condition such as obesity, uncontrolled high blood pressure (systolic blood pressure over 150), asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart failure, coronary artery disease or a fever over 101.1 degrees in the last 48 hours.

Importantly, patients must contact Centric Health within 24 hours of diagnosis or receiving a positive COVID-19 test result and treatment must begin within 48 hours, Baker said. The entire process is contactless. Enrollment and follow-up are done by phone and medication is delivered to the participant's residence.

Baker said Bakersfield was chosen as a site for the trial due to its high rate of cases in late July and early August.

He said the clinical trial is a way for physicians and patients to be active in advancing a possible treatment for COVID-19.

"The only treatment we have early in the disease is to go home, take plenty of fluids and hope," said Baker. "This gives us an opportunity to do something."

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(6) comments


WRONG! It's already been established, through over millions of people taking it in its early stages, that hydroxychloroquine and zink works! Because Trump touted it, no one wants to use it. It's cheap and it works. Ask the doctors in Bakersfield who went to Wash., D.C. and others who accompanied them, about their success with this treatment! It's being used around the world, and it works!!!!

Masked 2020

Ivy was just trying to keep you from driving your ClownCar off the rails when you read Doctor and Gates Foundation on the same page......pretty sure this doctor isn't one of your beloved TeaPartyPartriotQuacks

She Dee

So, what do these "test subjects" receive for their donation?


Dr. Baker is a hero in my heart and in my eyes. I have huge respect for the man and his practice. I'm not surprised he's thrown his hat into the Covid ring. God's Speed, Doc Baker. I'm praying you bring us great results.

Masked 2020

Dr. Baker is about as conservative a creature as there is..so ......blah blah blah "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation"...it good 2 see folks working 2gether to try and get all humanity out of this mess

The Independent Voter

Do you trust him, Masked, what with his conservative credentials and all?

Welcome to the discussion.

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