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NIAID announces the launch of second remdesivir trial for COVID-19 patients

Published on 11/05/20 at 10:32am
U.S. Army photo by Jason W. Edwards

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID) has announced that it is enrolling COVID-19 patients in hospital to be tested with Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir combined with Eli Lilly and Incyte’s JAK inhibitor Olumiant.

Called the ACTT 2 trial, it is expected to enroll more than 1000 participants with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2. The participants will be randomized and either receive an oral dose of Olumiant or a placebo, combined with an intravenous dose of remdesivir.

There must be evidence that patients who are selected have had supplemental oxygen, abnormal chest X-rays or required a ventilator. The trial will not include those with mild symptoms or those who are asymptomatic.

The investigators will evaluate if the time until recovery is shorter with the combination of the drugs or with remdesivir alone. Recovery will be deemed as the patient no longer needing ongoing medical care in hospital.

Anthony Fauci, the NIAID Director, commented on the study and said: “We now have solid data showing that remdesivir diminishes to a modest degree the time to recovery for people hospitalised with COVID-19. We will examine if adding an anti-inflammatory agent to the remdesivir regimen can provide additional benefit for patients, including improving mortality outcomes.”

The FDA was recently granted an emergency-use authorisation for remdesivir after the first ACTT trial of 1063 patients with advanced coronavirus. 31% of those who took the treatment had their recovery times cut compared to those taking the placebo. Olumiant was approved in 2018 in the US as a rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

Conor Kavanagh

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