Clinical trials begin for remdesivir coronavirus treatment


Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (yellow), isolated from a patient sample. The black area in the image is extracellular space between the cells. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland. (NIAID)

BETHESDA, Md. (NEWS10) — A randomized, controlled clinical trial begins Thursday to test the safety and efficacy of a treatment regimen using the antiviral remdesivir on COVID-19 patients.

Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial 3, is expected to include over 1,000 hospitalized adults. Participating patients must have a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, with evidence of lung involvement, a need for supplemental oxygen, abnormal chest X-rays, or illness requiring mechanical ventilation.

Remdesivir plus the immunomodulator interferon beta-1a will be administered at as many as 100 sites in the U.S. and abroad. Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral. Preliminary analysis of ACTT data showed patients taking remdesivir recovered faster than those taking a placebo.

Interferon beta-1a has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, and is used in over 90 countries—including the U.S.—to treat multiple sclerosis. It has the same amino acid sequence as naturally occurring proteins that help the immune system fight pathogens like viruses.

Studies suggest that the interferon response is sometimes suppressed after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Tests have shown interferon beta-1a inhibiting SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV, and may benefit COVID-19 patients. The combination of interferon beta-1a and remdesivir has not yet been evaluated for treating COVID-19.

This is the third of NIAID’s Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trials, which started on February 21. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is led by Dr. Anthony Fauci and is part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring the trial.

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