Marina del Rey Hospital Participates in Worldwide Trial of Antiviral Drug for Coronavirus
The antiviral medication remdesivir was designed to inhibit certain enzymes that a wide range of viruses, including coronavirus, require to replicate themselves. Because the effectiveness of the drug is still in the testing phase, remdesivir is not currently used to treat people who become infected with the new virus.
However, the researchers at Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital joined scientists in their efforts to determine the efficiency and safety of remdesivir in eliminating coronavirus. Along with dozens of other hospitals and medical facilities, our patients will participate in this clinical trial, which is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, in the hope of finding a treatment for the new virus.
Remdesivir was developed by the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc., which is located in Foster City, California. Because it needs to undergo further testing, the drug is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, there is currently no medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of coronavirus. So far, remdesivir appears to be a promising drug, as it proved to be very effective in counteracting the types of coronavirus which lead to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (middle east respiratory syndrome). Furthermore, the drug was effective in improving the health of several individuals suffering from coronavirus within various clinical studies. Nevertheless, additional research is necessary to determine the effectiveness of remdesivir, since “we need randomized, controlled studies to verify that remdesivir is both safe and effective”, according to Victor Tapson MD, Cedars-Sinai site director for the NIH trial.
Up to 30 patients who were diagnosed with coronavirus will take part in the clinical trial for remdesivir. One group will receive 200 milligrams of remdesivir intravenously on the first day, which will be followed by a maintenance dose of 100 milligrams for the next 10 days. In the meantime, the control group will be administered injections of a placebo drug which is similar to remdesivir, but lacks the active ingredient. At the end of the study, researchers will be able to assess the efficiency and safety of the drug by comparing the outcomes of the treatment and control groups on clinical severity, hospitalization, and mortality.
According to Tapson, the clinical trial involves numerous contributors, such as critical care and infectious diseases experts, pulmonologists, anesthesiologists and critical care nurses. “We urgently need a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19. Although remdesivir has been administered to some patients with COVID-19, we do not have solid data to indicate it can improve clinical outcomes”, says Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.