US begins first coronavirus treatment clinical trial using Ebola drug in Nebraska patients

First US coronavirus treatment trial begins testing with patients at Nebraska hospital – and doctors expect results ‘within a year or less’

The first US trial of the Ebola drug remdesivir has begun at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha So far, at lest one repatriated passenger of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in treatment there has enrolled in the trial Half will get the antiviral, remdesivir and half will receive a placebo treament Scientists hope to enroll 400 patients at 50 locations worldwide in the trial They are optimistic that they’ll have at least ‘preliminary’ results in a year or less, said the trial supervisor, Dr Andre Kalil, of UNMC 

US health officials said on Tuesday the first clinical trial testing Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental antiviral drug, remdesivir, in hospitalized patients with the coronavirus has started.

The first trial participant is an American who was repatriated after being quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and the study is being conducted at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

He or she is one of 14 ‘high risk’ passengers transferred there – including two who are being treated in special biocontainment units and one transferred from Texas last night – after being evacuated from the cruise ship.

Remdesivir was originally designed to treat Ebola. It performed poorly against that virus, but has shown promise for treating the new coronavirus, including in the US’s patient zero, whose symptoms improved significantly within 24 hours of his first dose. 

Dr Andrew Kalil, who is overseeing the trial at the University of Nebraska Medical Center , says he expects to see preliminary results on whether or not remdesivir effectively treats coronavirus in a year or less 

It’s not the only prospective treatment for the infection that’s killed more than 2,700 people worldwide being tested, but World Health Organization officials said Tuesday that it is the most promising.  

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