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Help us in the fight against COVID-19

Are you concerned about giving COVID-19 to an older adult in your household?

If you test positive for COVID-19, your household members who are age 65 and older may be eligible to participate in a new National Institutes of Health-sponsored drug trial looking to prevent COVID-19 symptoms in older adults by improving immune function.

This study is done remotely; no office visits required.

For More Information Contact:
Study ID # RTB101-211

Q & A:

Individuals 65 years and older are more than 100 times as likely to develop severe COVID-19 including the risk of hospitalization or death as compared to individuals under the age of 65.  We asked Dr. Lewis Lipsitz, Director, Marcus Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife, and Division Chief, Department of Gerontology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, what older adults can do to prevent severe COVID-19 and to also describe an ongoing research studies in the Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Boston MA.

As we face a resurgence of COVID-19, how can older adults prepare?

It is important to continue to use the recommendations set forth by the CDC:

  • Wash Hands Frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid Close Contact- Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • Get your flu vaccine and other relevant vaccines as suggested by your provider.
  • Remember good nutrition and physical activity are important to keep you healthy and boost your immune defenses.

Are there any studies that are focusing on older adults?

A recent study revealed that ironically most trials testing COVID-19 treatments exclude older adults.  However, at the Marcus Institute for Aging Research, our research work is specifically for older adults, and we are currently engaged is a COVID-19 study that is designed for older adults.    

We are leading an NIH-funded clinical trial in collaboration with the UCONN Health, Center on Aging, and resTORbio. This study is looking at a novel approach to COVID-19 by using medications designed to overcome aging-related declines in immune responses.

This study does not exclude older adults; in fact it is actually testing a geroscience-guided therapy that seeks to decrease the risk of severe COVID19 by targeting biological aging.

There is nothing we can do about chronological aging (numbers of years passed since birth) but using strategies that target biological aging we can slow its rate and therefore improve our ability to respond to infections, slowing the onset and progression of varied chronic diseases.

What do you hope to find as a result of this study?

The Marcus Institute for Aging Research, at Hebrew SeniorLife, Boston, is committed to protecting the health and safety of our community with a shared mission of uncovering answers to the most pressing challenges of aging and health. This study is designed to explore a new and unexplored approach to the prevention of severe COVID-19 by addressing biological aging which represents the greatest risk factor

What does this study entail and how can older adults participate?

A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase 2a Study of RTB101 as COVID-19 Post-Exposure Prophylaxis in Adults Age ≥65 Years

This study is looking to prevent or delay the onset of COVID-19 symptoms in asymptomatic positive COVID-19 participants, or those who are living in a household with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.   Participants will complete the entire study from their home remotely.  They will be asked to take the study drug for two weeks and be monitored for one additional week afterward.

Those who are age 65 or older and who either have had a positive COVID-19 test result in the last 14 days but currently have no COVID-19 symptoms, or who have recently been exposed to someone living in their household who has a positive COVID-19 test may qualify.

The trial will be randomized, and participants will receive either the study medication (RTB101) or a placebo to take once a day for two weeks. The medication has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated in over 2,000 older adults who participated in other studies. The study team will call participants twice a week over the two weeks, and for one additional week after completing the study medication.

Everything is done remotely in the comfort and safety of participants’ homes

We are currently accepting trial participants for this study and those that may be eligible and interested can contact the study team, at (617) 971-5688.

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