Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, announced plans for a new clinical trial to investigate three anti-inflammatory drugs in patients with COVID-19. The trial, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to enroll 2,000 patients hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID-19, and is expected to last six months.
According to the trial’s Principal Investigator, Dr. William Powderly, the trial will enroll hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including individuals whose cases are serious enough that the patient needs oxygen, or has X-rays that show signs of pneumonia.
“In those patients, we think what is happening, and the reason they are progressing and having more severe symptoms, is actually not that the virus is replicating and multiplying and damaging their lungs directly,” Dr. Powderly said. “But rather that the immune response to the virus is abnormal or is harming the patient.”
The drugs will be tested as ways to tamp down patients’ immune responses to the virus. Researchers hope the drugs will result in shorter hospital stays and decreased severity of respiratory symptoms.
All of the patients will receive remdesivir, an antiviral drug. They will also receive either a placebo, or one of the three drugs in the study. Patients can also receive other treatments, such as steroids.
“This is still, obviously, a serious illness, and people are dying,” Dr. Powderly said. “We’re trying to both study these approaches rapidly, and as efficiently as possible, while giving patients the best possible treatment that they would normally get.”
Missouri’s Washington University has been hard at work in the battle against COVID-19. Recent news includes: