Iowa patients in clinical trial of possible COVID-19 treatment

A clinical trial for an experimental COVID-19 drug is now underway at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The hospital started enrolling patients last week to try Remdesivir.

There have been promising results in lab tests, but it’s still not clear how safe or effective the drug is for people. Dr. Dilek Ince, a clinical professor of Infectious Diseases, is leading the research team at the hospital.

“In actual lab trials, in lab studies, it’s shown to be very potent, very effective against multiple coronaviruses, including…SARS-coronavirus-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” she says.

There are currently no FDA-approved drugs to specifically treat COVID-19. In the meantime, physicians and patients around the world are testing experimental treatments. Hospitalized patients can qualify the trial if they don’t have certain liver or kidney issues. Ince says patients are willing to try it, but they have questions.

“Is it really going to help me? That’s hard to know, right?” Ince says. “So that’s why we tell them, ‘You know, under lab conditions it seems like this drug should help you, but that’s why we need the clinical trials because in the real world, we do not if it’s really going to help.’”

Patients who agree to participate in the trial will be given the drug being tested or a placebo for up to 10 days.

(By Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Payne)