SAN ANTONIO – The South Texas Allergy & Asthma Medical Professionals (STAAMP) research center is offering thousands of patients the brand name anticoagulant drug Xarelto for free to those with a positive COVID-19 test, mild to moderate symptoms and an underlying risk factor for the virus.
Fighting coronavirus before it can kill is more than just a professional goal for Dr. Erika Gonzalez after her mother, Laura Oropeza Gonzales, a 69-year-old woman with no underlying conditions who was seemingly healthy, succumbed to COVID-19 in August. Dr. Gonzales says losing her mother made the pandemic personal.
“Especially seeing how it affected my family and how quickly my mom got sick and unfortunately passed away from that, I always feel like it’s better to err on the side of being conservative,” said Dr. Gonzalez, who serves as president and CEO of STAAMP, formerly Sylvana Research. “And even though your symptoms have not gotten there, why wait to have them get that bad before saying ‘OK, you know what -- I’m going to start something.’”
Dr. Gonzalez said the hope is that the patients who take Xarelto won’t have a worse condition and end up in the hospital if they get treated early enough. More common complications are the development of blood clots in small vessels, deep vein thrombosis in the legs and clots in the lungs.
“We know from the beginning that COVID is an inflammatory disease. One of the things that it does in the process is increase the risk of clotting,” she said.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Research Institute made the Xarelto trial possible.
“The problem has been that a lot of these medications are not accessible to the community, and so through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they’re wanting to be able to provide this to high-risk patients,” Gonzalez said.
Dr. Gonzalez said COVID-19 positive patients with an underlying medical condition that puts them at high risk should call STAAMP at 210-980-7711 or visit staampallergy.com. The underlying medical conditions can include asthma, respiratory diseases, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
If you qualify, there is no need to leave home. STAAMP will provide you with a telemedicine exam and ship you the medications and materials you will need to participate in the 21-day trial.
STAAMP Research is one of six centers nationwide chosen for the trial.