By Joshua Huff, sports editor
BIRMINGHAM – The University of Alabama at Birmingham announced in March that it will become one of just several sites in the world to participate in a National Institute of Health clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of unique treatments in hospitalized adult patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
According to the university, the first drug to be evaluated will be Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir, which was originally designed to tackle Ebola. Per the CDC, remdesivir is an investigational intravenous drug with broad antiviral activity that inhibits viral replication through premature termination of RNA transcription and has in-vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2 and in-vitro and in-vivo activity against related betacoronaviruses.
Gilead plans to donate 1.5 million doses of remdesivir to ongoing clinical trials.
“Remdesivir worked well in the test tube and animal models against a close relative of COVID-19,” Paul Goepfert, M.D., professor of medicine in the UAB Division of Infectious Diseases, said in a release posted by the university. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to rapidly determine whether this drug will help treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19 here at UAB.”
UAB was selected as a site on March 25, 2020, by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. That means that the university can commence enrollment “as part of this phase three therapeutic clinical trial immediately.”
The study will be conducted in around 75 sites throughout the world.
“Gilead is working to rapidly assess the safety and efficacy of remdesivir as a potential treatment for COVID-19 through multiple ongoing clinical trials,” the company said in a statement. “Enrollment in clinical trials is the primary way to access remdesivir to generate critical data that inform the appropriate use of this investigational medicine.”