IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has been selected to participate in an international clinical trial to test a drug that may be used to treat patients with COVID-19.
The trial is for a drug called Remdesivir, which is an anti-viral drug that has successfully treated coronaviruses like MERS and SARS, according to a statement from the University of Iowa Health Care. There are 70 sites worldwide that are taking part in the study, and the drug will be tested on a combined 3,600 patients across these sites.
To be an eligible participant in the study, the patient has to be at least 12 years old, admitted to the hospital for COVID-19, have a positive lab test showing they have COVID-19, evidence of lung infection, no underlying kidney or liver issues, and the patient cannot be pregnant or breastfeeding. Of the 3,600 patients included in the trial, the drug will be tested on 2,400 patients with severe disease and 1,200 with moderate disease. Participants will receive either Remdesivir or a placebo for five to 10 days.
Doctors will be looking to see if the treatment improves outcomes, including survival with severe disease. In addition, they’ll be checking to see if the treatment reduces the spread from person to person.
The trial at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is being led by Dr. Dilek Ince, who is a clinical associate professor of internal medicine – infectious diseases.
“It was amazing because it can take weeks or months to get all the approvals to begin a study, but this was done in a matter of three days,” Ince said. “Our university and our hospital have made everything to do with COVID-19 a priority. Everybody collaborated to get this going as soon as possible.”
The university is the first facility in the state to take part in this trial. They got approval on March 30 and has started the enrollment process.
Preliminary results are expected to start coming out between one and two months.