FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (CBSDC) — A drug company has decided to let a 7-year-old boy who is suffering from a rare life-threatening disease be treated with an experimental drug, despite initially denying the family the drug.
The decision from Chimerix came from public backlash for denying the drug to Josh Hardy, who is currently suffering from gastrointestinal adenovirus and who has also battled kidney cancer four times since he was 9 months old.
Mae Staton, grandmother to Josh Hardy, initially told WTVR-TV that Chimerix wouldn’t supply the Hardy family with the drug brincidofovir, despite doctors believing it can help the child suffering from the deadly disease.
“This virus has really done a number on his little body, he’s bleeding internally and he’s in a lot of pain,” Staton told WTVR.
He contracted the virus after getting a bone marrow transplant in January at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when a checkup last November found blood irregularity, which turned out to be a rare disease known as secondary myelodysplastic syndrome. He was in a coma for 16 days following the transplant.
After coming out of the coma, he developed the deadly gastrointestinal adenovirus.
“He’s a tough little fella,” Staton told WTVR.
In a statement released Tuesday, Chimerix announced that Josh will be the first patient enrolled in a pilot trial for treatment.
“This 20-patient open-label study underscores Chimerix’s mission to develop innovative antiviral therapies in areas of high unmet need – for everyone,” Ken Moch, CEO of Chimerix, said in a statement. “Being unable to fulfill requests for compassionate use is excruciating, and not a decision any one of us ever wants to have to make. It is essential that each individual in a health crisis be treated with equal gravity and value, a principle we have upheld by pursuing further clinical study of brincidofovir that will inform its use in adenovirus and other serious DNA viral infections.”
The Save Josh Facebook page thanked everyone who supported them.
“You did it. You saved Josh. Thank you Chimerix and Josh’s Army,” the post stated.
Josh will be enrolled in the trial Wednesday.
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