Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) investigators are enrolling patients in two clinical trials targeting COVID-19. The two trial are led by Kathryn Stephenson, MD, MPH, an infectious disease specialist, and the team will test Gilead’s remdesivir (an antiviral drug) for safety and efficacy against the respiratory infection that has impacted over 300,000 people and killed over 15,000 people worldwide to date.
Remdesivir, an investigational drug developed by Gilead Sciences Inc. as a general purpose anti-viral, is designed to lessen the severity of COVID-19 by preventing viral replication in the early stages of infection.
First developed during the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016, remdesivir was designed to be a general purpose, broad spectrum antiviral medication. Other treatments out-performed remdesivir against Ebola, but animal studies showed the drug could be effective against other coronavirus infections, like SARS, which emerged in 2003, and MERS, first detected in 2012.
The two clinical trials at BIDMC will assess remdesivir’s efficacy when given to hospitalized patients with either moderate or severe COVID-19. Enrollment in the BIDMC trials is available only to patients hospitalized at BIDMC for treatment of COVID-19. Admitted patients may request their care team contact the research team for information about the trial, Stephenson said. The research team will also reach out to eligible admitted patients directly.
The lead investigator, Kathryn Stephenson is also Director for the Clinical Trials Unit for the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research. Stephenson’s clinical trials compliment the basic science already underway in BIDMC labs, including that of Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, Director of BIDMC’s Center for Virology and Vaccine Research. With experience in the development of preventative vaccines against HIV and Zika virus, Barouch and colleagues are already testing investigative COVID-19 vaccines in animal models.
BIDMC Center for Virology and Vaccine Research
BIDMC’s Center for Virology and Vaccine Research aims to promote research and education activities related to virology, vaccinology and related disciplines, including basic, translational and clinical vaccine research. The Center consists of primary and affiliate faculty and focuses on the development of vaccines against infectious, oncologic, degenerative and other diseases.
Kathryn Stephenson, MD, MPH
Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD