UH one of first in nation to begin clinical trials for drug to help patients with COVID-19

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Posted at 5:19 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 23:21:12-04

CLEVELAND — As the country deals with the coronavirus crisis sweeping the nation, University Hospitals will lead the way in testing an antiviral to combat COVID-19.

University Hospitals has secured two clinical trials that will provide “remdesivir,” an antiviral drug to adults who have been hospitalized with pneumonia due to COVID-19, according to the hospital.

The first trial will focus on COVID-19 patients with moderate illness. The goal is to evaluate the impact of the remdesivir drug compared to standard care being given now and measure how many of those patients are discharged before two weeks of hospitalization.

The second trial will focus on those with more severe illness who require intensive care. The goal is to determine the drug’s ability to normalize patients’ temperature and oxygen saturation in two weeks of hospitalization.

Remdesivir has been proven to fight COVID-19 in animal studies and has been shown to be safe and tolerable in humans when tested in previous Ebola studies, according to University Hospitals.

The two clinical trials will open at UH Cleveland Medical Center. The hospital hopes to open trials at UH Ahuja, Parma and St. John medical centers soon.

“The goal, as always, is to ensure access to the most novel treatments for our UH patients and the communities we serve,” said Daniel Simon, MD, Chief Clinical & Scientific Officer and President, UH Cleveland Medical.

University Hospitals will be one of the first hospitals in the United States to conduct clinical trials in an effort to combat COVID-19.

“This is some promising news in the midst of this COVID-19 situation,” Dr. Simon said. “Our UH research team has worked closely with the manufacturer, Gilead, in recent days to secure the studies. We are grateful to be one of the first sites in the U.S. to participate in these clinical trials. Both trials are now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and our Institutional Review Board, and we are expecting shipment of the experimental drug remdesivir in the next couple of days.”

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