CHICAG) (CBS) — Rush University Medical Center is taking part in a clinical trial of a drug being tested for treatment of COVID-19.
So far, there is no cure or vaccine for the virus, which has infected more than 1.17 million people, and killed more than 64,500 worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.READ MORE: Shots Fired At Police In North Austin
The drug being tested is called remdesivir, an anti-viral drug developed to treat Ebola. It has been effective in treating other coronaviruses and is injected intravenously.
“Currently, clinical decisions related to COVID-19 are based on the knowledge of how this drug worked during previous infectious disease outbreaks and safety trials, but we don’t know how effective it will be in treating COVID-19. This study aims to find that answer,” said Dr. Shivanjali Shankaran, infectious disease expert and principal investigator of the trial at Rush.
Rush is one of several hospitals worldwide taking part in the study, which will include up to 2,000 total patients. Northwestern Memorial Hospital and University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center also are taking part in the clinical trial.READ MORE: Ed's Driveway: Ford Mustang Mach-E
According to Rush, patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms and lung abnormalities will be given the option to participate in the clinical trial, which launched on Friday. Two groups of randomized patients will be chosen for the study: those with moderate or severe novel coronavirus cases.
During the study, patients will receive either remdesivir or a placebo for 5 to 10 days. All patients also will receive treatment of symptoms and side effects.
Possible side effects include nausea, headaches, inflamed blood vessels or bruising.
“We will be looking at how long the patients are sick, if they had to be intubated and whether this treatment helps patients recover faster,” Shankaran said. “Patients who agree to participate in this study will be followed closely during their hospitalization and up to a month after starting on the drug to evaluate how they are doing and how they are recovering. We will also evaluate for any side effects to the drug.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Colder And Blustery Sunday Night
Remdesivir is one of two that are currently being studied as therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients. The other drug is hydroxycloroquine. It is a drug used to treat malaria and has been in use since the 1950s. There is currently a 2,000 person study underway to test whether that drug could also be helpful in treating COVID-19.