URMC Begins Clinical Trial for New COVID-19 Treatment

Mar. 25, 2020
laboratory research

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is participating in a NIH-sponsored clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with COVID-19.  The study is being led by Ann R. Falsey, M.D., and Angela R. Branche, M.D., with the URMC Vaccine and Treatment and Evaluation Unit (VTEU). 

Remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences, is a broad-spectrum antiviral treatment that has been previously tested in humans with the Ebola virus and has shown promise in animal models for treating Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which are caused by other coronaviruses.  It is believed that the drug blocks a particular enzyme that is required for viral replication.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will involve acute COVID-19 inpatients at Strong Memorial Hospital.  The study may be expanded over time to include additional investigational antiviral treatments. 

The URMC VTEU was established with support from the National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases to conduct clinical trials of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics for known and emergent infectious threats.  URMC is one of only nine VTEU sites in the U.S.