Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago have enrolled their first participants in a clinical drug trial for a medication that could be used to treat patients hospitalized with the novel coronavirus.
The drug, known as remdesivir, was initially developed to treat the Ebola virus and has been found, in animal studies, to have antiviral activity against coronaviruses, including SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, an 89-year-old man who was diagnosed with the virus was the first to receive the drug at the hospital.
“His family was very excited about it,” principal investigator Dr. Babafemi Taiwo said in a statement.
At UIC, four patients have enrolled in the drug trial thus far, with as many as 30 potentially enrolling during the process, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The drug trial, which is being conducted at more than 40 sites across the world, is a randomized, placebo-controlled double blind trial, and will evaluate whether the drug is safe, and effective, on adult patients who have been hospitalized after being diagnosed with COVID-19.