Local researchers test experimental Ebola drug as possible coronavirus treatment

Channel 2?s Carol Sbarge spoke with Dr. Aneesh Mehta, the chief of Infectious Diseases Services about Emory?s role in the NIH-sponsored clinical trial.

ATLANTA — UPDATE: Emory tells us that this clinical trial is now full.

As scientists around the world race to find the drug that will stop coronavirus, researchers at Emory University Hospital are testing one of the therapies President Trump named as a potential treatment.

Remdesivir is an experimental drug that was previously used to treat Ebola patients.

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Channel 2’s Carol Sbarge spoke with Dr. Aneesh Mehta, the chief of Infectious Diseases Services about Emory’s role in the NIH-sponsored clinical trial.

“That trial is using a drug called remdesivir, and comparing that to standard of care, so that things that we generally to do take care of these patients in the hospital, to see if the drug has a benefit,” explained Dr. Mehta.

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Emory is one of 75 sites around the world testing the drug on adult patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“After a certain number of patients are enrolled, we’ll see if there’s a difference between remdesivir and standard of care,” said Mehta.

While Dr. Mehta could not predict how long it would take to find out if remdesivir works, he said that all the health professionals involved were working as fast as possible.

“I know the FDA is ready to evaluate that data as soon as we have enough, so hopefully this process will move quickly,” said Dr. Mehta.

Shortly after President Trump named hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir as promising treatment coronavirus options in a March 19 White House briefing, the Food and Drug Administration signaled that it would consider all available options.

“We are looking at everything that’s coming across our desks as possible treatment options for coronavirus,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn. “We need the data, we need the information to make the absolute best decisions for the American people.”

Local hospitals are running out of the swabs needed to perform coronavirus tests.