A 25-year-old former Bates College All-American lacrosse player hospitalized with COVID-19 has yet to start an experimental treatment his family is hoping will help him battle the virus.
Jack Allard remains in stable but critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, according to Peter Lasagna, Bates College men’s lacrosse coach.
Allard, a 2016 Bates graduate who was hospitalized on March 15 after experiencing fever, vomiting and back pain, is still in a medically-induced coma and on a ventilator, Lasagna said via text to the Sun Journal. His liver function has not improved to a level at which doctors are comfortable administering an experimental treatment called Remdesivir.
Doctors hope the drug, which had previously been tested on Ebola, SARS and MERS viruses, will slow the virus and allow Allard’s immune system to battle it.
A native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, who was working for Bank of America in Manhattan when he fell ill, Allard was flown from JFK Medical Center to Philadelphia last Wednesday because it is a critical care facility that is better equipped to treat him. Family members had hoped he could begin receiving Remdesivir within days.
Late last week, Lasagna said, rumors began circulating that Allard’s condition had improved, which was not the case. Lasagna has been in contact with Allard’s mother, Genny.
Gilead Sciences Inc. produces Remdesivir. In an open letter posted on the company’s web site on Saturday, Gilead chairman and CEO Daniel O’Day said it is working with federal regulators to expand access to the drug while continuing trials around the world.
“Establishing the safety and efficacy of Remdesivir, in partnership with regulatory authorities, is essential to potentially enabling the treatment of many more patients in the future,” O’Day wrote in the letter. “Multiple studies are ongoing, and we are on track to have initial data in the coming weeks.”
Allard’s condition has united Bates players, alumni and members of the lacrosse community to support his family and each other. Parents of Avery Prince, a junior on the Bates women’s lacrosse team, have started fundraising to provide meals for medical staff at the UPenn hospital in a Venmo campaign they’ve called “Jack’s Team.”