FILE - Coronavirus Outbreak Belgium

(The Center Square) — A potential COVID-19 treatment developed by a Washington-based biotech company is one step closer to nationwide distribution if clinical trials prove successful.

CytoDyn Inc. announced on Monday that it had reached an exclusive deal with pharmaceutical company American Regent to distribute one of its latest products, leronlimab, per approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Leronlimab, which is under review by the FDA as a treatment for HIV, is an antibody that attaches itself to certain immune cell receptors HIV agents.

CytoDyn studies claim it can be effective in slowing the rate of inflammatory molecules production.

The company hopes it could soon be used to treat a potentially fatal condition called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome brought on by inflammation in the lungs in many COVID-19 cases. 

Last month, the company announced it had recruited 75 patients for a Phase 2 trial studying leronlimab's effects on patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 cases.

Results on a clinical trial of 390 COVID-19 patients should be complete by end of July, according to CytoDyn. 

Some of the most common side effects of leronlimab in HIV trials were headache, diarrhea, and high blood pressure, according to a report by the National Institute for Health 

As of July 6, the World Health Organization reported there are 19 potential candidates for a COVID-19 vaccine.  

Staff Reporter

Tim Gruver is a politics and public policy reporter. He is a University of Washington alum and the recipient of the 2017 Pioneer News Award for Reporting. His work has appeared in Politico, the Kitsap Daily News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly.