Researchers are about to release the findings of a study that analyzed how the drug remdesivir could be a treatment for coronavirus. The antiviral drug appears helping to prevent the virus from replicating itself in the body.
The results may come out in the coming days. Experts hope remdesivir would open more doors to find other coronavirus treatments and give the world an advantage in the fight against COVID-19.
“We are in a race against time,” Andre Kalil, lead researcher for the remdesivir clinical trial at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, told NBC News. “We’re doing everything we can 24/7 to make this happen.”
Kalil and his colleagues have been working with other researchers in different sites around the world to speed up the process to see how the drug could help improve the conditions of patients with COVID-19. Remdesivir manufacturer Gilead Sciences has also joined the effort.
“This is something that we have to do as perfectly as possible,” Kalil said. “You have to have reliable data. It’s the soul of the whole study.”
The clinical trial also aims to determine any potential side effects of remdesivir. Previous research showed intake of the drug could lead to mild to moderate liver function abnormalities.
Remdesivir And New COVID-19 Treatment
Kalil said if the potential coronavirus treatment appears safe and effective, the results will guide future efforts to find other drugs. Researchers may use remdesivir as the control in trials and see how other medications offer benefits.
Dozens of studies have been launched across the world to analyze different drugs that may work against COVID-19. One study focuses on the anti-inflammatory medication called baricitinib, which mainly helps treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers mainly aim to find a treatment that helps reduce inflammation. Drugs against COVID-19 should help boost the functions of the immune system to manage inflammation and fight off the virus.
Finding an effective drug for coronavirus will be a “game changer,” according to Dr. Michael Saag, associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He said that would allow health systems to treat people “as soon as possible” when they start showing symptoms of COVID-19.