COVID-19 drug trial led by NUCATS member launches at Northwestern Medicine
Northwestern Medicine has enrolled its first participants in a new international clinical drug trial for COVID-19. The drug being tested is remdesivir, a novel anti-viral drug developed to treat Ebola and which has subsequently been found, in animal models, to have antiviral activity against coronaviruses including MERS and now SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
The randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the drug in hospitalized adult patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
The first Chicago-area patient to enroll in the trial at Northwestern Medicine is an 89-year-old man in intensive care. “His family was very excited about it,” said principal investigator and NUCATS member Dr. Babafemi Taiwo, chief of infectious diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Medicine.
“I think it’s fantastic this trial is off the ground,” Taiwo said. “It puts something in our hands that we can investigate in a rigorous fashion in the quest for therapies that may be effective and widely adopted to treat the pandemic.“
Before the clinical trial, remdesivir was used to treat a handful of patients on a compassionate access program basis. “It’s too early to say if there is an effect because some of them are still receiving the treatment,” Taiwo said.