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Mass General First in New England to Enroll Patients in Remdesivir Clinical Trial for COVID-19

In This Article

  • Massachusetts General Hospital announced that the Infectious Disease Division has started enrolling patients in an international study of the antiviral drug, Remdesivir, which aims to treat those with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • According to Elizabeth Hohmann, MD, the drug can stop the replication of other coronaviruses; she is hopeful that it will do the same to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and make people better
  • More trials are being planned at the hospital.

On March 20, 2020, Massachusetts General Hospital announced that the hospital's Infectious Disease Division was the first center in New England to enroll patients in an international study of the antiviral drug, Remdesivir, which aims to treat those with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to Elizabeth Hohmann, MD, principal investigator of the Mass General site and associate professor in Medicine and Infectious Disease at Harvard Medical School, the drug can stop the replication of other coronaviruses. She is hopeful that it will do the same to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and make people better.

To date, the double blind, placebo-controlled trial has four patients at Mass General out of 30 enrolled nationally. The hospital hopes to enroll as many as 40 patients to the nationwide pool at 50 participating sites.

Dr. Hohmann hopes to have useful data in six weeks, and if going well, hopes to refine the study to make the drug more available.

Other trials are being planned at Mass General including:

  • Testing inhaled nitric oxide to improve breathing in COVID-19 patients with severely damaged lungs; using gas to stop the virus in the lungs in early infection
  • Repurposing existing drugs like tocilizumab (Actemra) that dampen the immune response to decrease late lung damage in severe COVID-19 patients
  • Determining what part of the immune system is activated in the virus and when, and using that information to repurpose drugs to modulate, alter or prevent severe disease and to develop effective vaccines quickly
  • Identify biomarkers in various stages of the disease to help select appropriate treatment strategies

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Learn about COVID-19 Grand Rounds at Mass General

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On March 19, 2020, the Department of Medicine held held its second virtual Grand Rounds presentation related to COVID-19. Louise Ivers, MD, MPH, executive director of the Mass General Center for Global Health, along with other members of the Greater Boston and world medical community, presented on the global effects of the pandemic and helping countries that have inequities of care.