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As a young doctor training for neurosurgery, Kevin Tracey’s 11-month-old patient died of sepsis. Ever since, he’s been pioneering a field of medicine that’s trying to replace drugs with technology to stem inflammation.
Today, he’s the CEO of Northwell Health’s research arm, the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, where his background in research helped him transform New York’s biggest health system into a hub of clinical trials for coronavirus treatments.
When a surge of coronavirus cases overtook New York on March 13, Tracey wanted to start testing drugs fast — and with enough precision to ensure the rest of the world could trust their results.
“We realized that the doctors were dealing with something they’d never seen,” Tracey says. “People were dying, and no one knew the right treatment.”
By March 20, they announced the first set of trials and mobilized a team of what became roughly 200 doctors, nurses, clinical coordinators, laboratory staff, administrators, data people, and medical students.
While most of Northwell’s trials are on hold now because of low coronavirus cases, they enrolled more than 1,200 patients in the early days, including for Gilead’s antiviral medication remdesivir.
“It was an amazing thing to see happen,” Tracey says.