Clinical Trial on Antiviral Drug Remdesivir


The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will initiate a clinical trial in the U.S. to evaluate the efficacy of antiviral drug remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with COVID-19 infection.  Participants in the trial are volunteers who were infected on the Diamond Princess and were repatriated in quarantine to the U.S.


Remdesivir was developed by Gilead Sciences Inc. and is an investigational broad-spectrum antiviral therapy.  It was previously tested in patients with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that is also caused by coronaviruses.


Dr. Anthony S, Fauci director of NIAID and a member of the U.S. Coronavirus Task Force stated, “We urgently need a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19.  Although remdesivir has been administered to some patients with COVID-19 we do not have solid data to indicate that it can improve clinical outcome.”  The randomized, placebo-control trial under the direction of NIAID will determine if an experimental treatment will benefit patients.  Criteria for participation in the trial include laboratory-confirmed infection with SARS-Co-2 infection and evidence of lung involvement ranging from rales to the need for mechanical ventilation.


Currently twelve patients from the Diamond Princess are now located in a quarantine unit at the Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center on the University of Nebraska Medical Center campus in Omaha.