Experimental flu drug saves boy's life

February 28, 2018 08:59 AM

(WCNC) An 8-year-old North Carolina boy with flu-like symptoms was near death when doctors saved his life with a drug that's only been used in adults.

Like so many children this flu season, 8-year-old Lucas Judy came home from school with a fever. Days went by, but instead of getting better, Lucas got worse, so Desiree Judy took her son to the E.R. at Levine Children's Hospital.

"He went from a stable patient to a critical care patient requiring a very aggressive amount of critical care support in a matter of hours," said Dr. Dwight Bailey from the Pediatric ICU at Levine Children's Hospital.

Dr. Bailey says a virus attacked Lucas's lungs, later complicated by a viral infection causing Lucas' organs to fail.

Running out of options, Dr. Bailey turned to an investigative drug called LJ501, which up to this point has only been used in adult trials, making Lucas the first pediatric patient in the world to receive it.

"Within 3 hours of starting this investigational drug he was off all other standard drugs to support heart rate and blood pressure, which is simply an amazing response," said Dr. Bailey.

Dr. Bailey says Lucas's symptoms matched that of the flu but can't say for sure that's what he had.

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