Mom: Boy ‘Good As New’ After Experimental Drug

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7-year-old Josh Hardy in the hospital. ( credit: Hardy family via CNN )

(CNN) — After just three doses of an experimental drug, Josh Hardy — whose parents had to launch a media campaign to get him the medicine — is sitting up, doing homework and playing board games with his brothers, his mother said.

Just last week, Josh was so sick he could barely get out even a few words. He was in heart and kidney failure, and vomited blood several times an hour as his family held a vigil in the intensive care unit of a Memphis hospital.

Josh received doses of the drug brincidofovir Wednesday, Saturday, and Tuesday, and tests showed the level of adenovirus in his blood went down from 250,000 copies per milliliter to 367 copies per milliter.

“We expect it will be out of his system by Tuesday,” his mother, Aimee Hardy, said Friday. “I’m beside myself with how effective this drug was so quickly.”

Already they’re seeing results of the waning virus in Josh’s system. He no longer has bleeding in his stomach and intestines.

Before receiving brincidofovir, Josh was fighting for his life. The adenovirus was ravaging his immune system, left vulnerable by treatment for cancer, and the only available antiviral drug to treat it wasn’t working.

*Follow the latest from our sister station in Memphis, WREG*

In early February, Chimerix, the company that makes brincidofovir, refused to give Josh its experimental drug. But after reports by CNN and intense pressure from social media, Chimerix and the Food and Drug Administration came up with a plan to get the medicine to Josh and other patients who request it.

Traditionally, drug companies have not been allowed to use so-called “compassionate use” patients like Josh as study subjects, so helping them out has been pure charity work on behalf of the drug company.

But the FDA allowed Chimerix to use data from Josh and others as part of its application to the FDA, helping to get the drug on the market faster.

Seven other adenovirus patients have inquired about being the next in line to get the drug, according to Kenneth Moch, the president of Chimerix, and several of those patients have already received doses.

Even though the virus seems to be leaving Josh’s body, his mother says his kidneys are still in danger.

In February, his kidneys were just starting to recover from the damage of powerful chemotherapy. But then the adenovirus struck, and his doctors had no choice but to give him an antiviral drug that further damaged his kidneys.

Now that Josh is taking brincidofovir, he’s no longer taking the other drug that hurt his kidneys, but the damage was done: His kidneys still aren’t working and he has to undergo dialysis three times a week. His mother worries he might be on dialysis the rest of his life.

“What if he has to be on dialysis long-term? If he could have gotten the brincidofovir earlier, it could have been avoided. That will always bother me,” she said.

She’s also worried about something else — Josh’s state of mind.

As recently as last month, Josh had a “go get ’em” attitude about fighting his illness, his mother says. But now, even though he’s getting better, she says he seems to be exhausted after months of being sick and lacks motivation.

“I haven’t seen him smile lately,” she said. “I try to get him to chant every day, ‘I’m as good as new.’ ”

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24 comments

      • Chud Baby

        Gods hands were tied…

        The power of people, social media and political pressure is what made the difference here. Also the power of modern medicine and since sure had a hand here, fighting off a virus, you know smaller than what you can see with a naked eye. You know, the thing the church killed people over that exact fact here.

        Stop claiming science as “God’s” doing, if it were not for religion, we would be light years ahead, but since you do not believe in light years, since the earth probably is the center of your universe.

  • Donna Veccia

    seems we as a whole have forgotten the physicians promise. The drug companies are so involved in competition that all they seem to care about is money. i am so hoping this will serve as a example about compassion. Their stale mate though it may have saved joshs life has make his form of life a threat in itself. bless this child

  • peg

    Josh The whole world is FIGHTING with you little man Please keep your little head up many prayers are sent your way everyday, we all LOVE U.

  • Tina Bellino

    I wish I could give you a kidney! God has you in the palms of His hands! Thank you to the drug company, this precious boy has a second chance! Godspeed healing to Josh, and prayers to his family too!

  • Steve Louden

    This family and the young child have been through terrible, terrible ordeal, and now, because of the arrogance of a drug company, the child may suffer from kidney damage for the rest of his life. I am not one for suing people, but the man who refused to give these people the medicine in order to save the child’s life should be held accountable.

    • Jeanne

      “The man” who refused the boy the drug was YOU, Steve. You and the rest of us who accept the FDA’s rules that prevent expanded access before all the drug’s actions are known. Hardly the arrogance of the drug company.
      The child had already sustained end stage kidney failure from chemo and other antivirals, another antiviral would not make them better.

  • Jeanne

    Be careful what you wish for, be careful of what you force others to do. It was not the virus that damaged the kidneys; it was chemo and other antivirals that damaged them. Kidney recovery is not the same as “like new”. Experimental drugs can damage the brain, the heart and you might not feel like smiling ever again. Finally, it was our government, our acceptance of FDA rules and therefore US, that kept the drug from expanded access. Quit blaming the company that was making small amounts.

    • John Hudzik

      Everybody quit blaming one another and just be thankful that he has shown a goodly amount or recovery. Prayers for Josh and family and thanks to the drug company that someone was smart enough to understand the situation this family was facing.

    • Terri Freeman

      Eyeofstorm, science and religion are not compatible.(Dip$hit). If you want to claim that your God controls everything and is therefore responsible for science or the doctors…then you must also blame your god for the suffering the child is going through in the first place. If your God exists, he acts an aweful lot like a god that doesn’t exist at all. Calling people names to “prove your point” only shows that you’re not intelligent enough to do it.

      • Eyeofstorm

        Well Dip$hit #2, you ever think that if we hadn’t genetically altered everything God has given us and polluted ourselves the way we have we wouldn’t have all the sicknesses we do? We as a people are sicker today than we’ve ever been in the history of mankind and we’ve brought it all upon ourselves. By the way o wise one, who created science if God didn’t. Also I never said God controls everything he handed the Earth over to Satan a long time ago, thats how Satan was able to offer rule of the world to Jesus if he would just bow down to him. Try educating yourself sometime and that goes for you too Judy.

      • Terri Freeman

        Eyeofstorm, there is absolutely no logical reason to believe that God or Satan exist, and no historical evidence to verify that Jesus ever existed either. That said, the rest of your religious claims are therefore unverified, making them meaningless.
        As far as people being so much sicker now than they used to be…that’s not true either. We have more than doubled our life spans, created immunizations, anitbiotics, antivirals, etc. All those things are developed to fight the natural laws. If you believe that your god created everything, then he would still be responsible for disease, bacteria, viruses, etc. You don’t really think things through before you type them do you? It’s ok, at least your insanity is amusing. :)

  • Eyeofstorm

    2000 year old hoax, right. Not even the Jews or Muslims question the existence of Jesus. But, you sound soooo smart, well, I will pray for you. May God Bless you and your loved ones. Oh and by the way, I have been working in the medical field for over 25 years, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Terri Freeman

      Yep, 2000 year old hoax. lol Just like we thought the world was flat and epilepsy was thought to be demon possession. Questioning things is not a bad thing, it’s what leads to knowledge. Oh and by the way, being in the medical feild isn’t the same has having knowledge in history or theology. That’s like saying, because you’re a dentist you know all about the big bang theory. lol Go ahead and pray for me, all studies show that prayer does absoultely nothing to change things in reality. …you know reality…that thing you’re drifting farther and farther away from. lol

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