Federal study will test the combination of remdesivir and multiple sclerosis in coronavirus patients
Remdesivir will be combined with a multiple sclerosis drug in the next phase of federal testing in hopes that the combination will fight deadly inflammation in coronavirus patients
- Remdesivir is already approved for emergency use in patients with severe coronavirus
- Now federal researchers will compare remdesivir and a placebo with remdesivir and beta interferon
- The drug is approved to treat multiple sclerosis, has anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to stop the replication of viruses such as SARS
- Scientists believe a combination of the two can reverse cytokine storms, which occur when the body attacks its own cells and tissues
A federal study into the antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment for the novel coronavirus is entering a new phase.
In April, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released the results of a study showing that the medication helped patients recover 31 percent faster.
Now researchers want to see if adding another drug can improve the effects of remdesivir and shorten recovery time even further, reported The New York Times.
Beta interferon, currently approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps tame the immune system response, which can help tame a deadly immune system overreaction to the virus
Researchers will compare remdesivir (shown (and a placebo with remdesivir and beta interferon, which is approved to treat multiple sclerosis, has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to stop the replication of viruses such as SARS).
Scientists believe a combination of both could reverse cytokine storms, which occur when the body attacks its own cells and tissues. Pictured: Medical staff members at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, treat a patient at the COVID-19 ICU, July 28
This is the third phase of the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT), which is being conducted by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Adaptive studies test treatments against each other, and what performs best is the control drug in the next trial and is tested against a new drug.
About 1,000 coronavirus patients will receive either remdesivir and placebo or a combination of remdesivir and beta interferon, both injections.
The team decided to use beta interferon instead of another drug because it is already approved and not experimental, The Times reported.
In addition, several studies have shown that the drug stops the replication of viruses such as SARS and MERS, which are cousins of the new virus.
It has also been tested on its own as a treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, with promising results.
a study, conducted in Southampton, England, found that hospital patients who received an inhaled formulation of the drug reduced their chance of developing serious illness by 79 percent.
They were also more than twice as likely to recover over the course of the treatment period compared to those who received a placebo.
Another study in Hong Kong one group of patients gave beta interferon and two antivirals and the second group a placebo.
Those who received the combination recovered within about seven days compared to those in the control group, who recovered within about 12 days.
The first phase of the study was the phase in which remdesivir was assisted in obtaining emergency authorization for use as a treatment for severe coronavirus patients.
The second phase tested remdesivir and a placebo compared to remdesivir and baricitinib, an arthritis drug that helps suppress inflammation, according to The Times.
Researchers are still evaluating the results, but it appears that baricitinib did not suppress the cytokine storms, which occur when the body not only fights off the virus but also attacks its own cells and tissues.