Patients rush to join studies testing drug for coronavirus

A woman affixes a directional sign to help guide patients into a drive through testing center outside the Physicians One offices in Medford, Massachusetts, USA. Tests were conducted for pre-registered patients by appointment only. EPA-EFE/CJ GUNTHER

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Coronavirus patients around the world have been rushing to join remdesivir studies that opened in hospitals in the last few weeks.

Interest has been so great that the US National Institutes of Health is expanding its study, which has nearly reached its initial goal of 440 patients. The drug’s maker, California-based Gilead Sciences, is quickly ramping up its own studies, too.

“I would enroll my family in a heartbeat” if the need arose, said Dr. Libby Hohmann, who placed Singh and nearly 30 others in the NIH one at Mass General. To have no approved medicines for COVID-19 now is “kind of terrifying,” she said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but sometimes pneumonia requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems.
Remdesivir is given through an IV. It’s designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material.

In animal tests against SARS and MERS, diseases caused by similar coronaviruses, the drug helped prevent infection and reduced the severity of symptoms when given early enough in the course of illness. It’s farther along in testing than many other potential therapies and the current studies could lead to regulatory approval.

 

Read more via ABC News

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