Kettering Medical Center joins trial of promising coronavirus drug

A drug that Wednesday received worldwide attention for potential in treating coronavirus patients will be tested at Kettering Medical Center, the hospital announced today.

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Kettering will participate in an expanded access clinical trial for the antiviral drug remdesivir, which has shown in preliminary trials helps COVID-19 patients recover faster.

The maker of remdesivir, Gilead Sciences, reported Wednesday that early results of a test trial showed earlier recovery in patients treated with the antiviral drug as compared to a placebo.

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Recovery time was an average of 11 days with the drug vs. 15 days with the placebo, a 31% improvement, Gilead Sciences reported.

Other Kettering Health Network hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients now are applying for acceptance into the trial, according to a press release.

“We are thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking clinical trial,” says Dr. Patrick Lytle, vice president of Clinical Outcomes for Kettering Health Network. “Initial results are very promising, and with more testing, we can further determine remdesivir’s safety and effectiveness.”

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Thursday said he expected the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to quickly approve the emergency use of remdesivir.

Appearing on NBC’s Today show, Fauci said he spoke with FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Wednesday, and while Hahn had yet to make a final decision, “I would project that we’re going to be seeing that reasonably soon.”

In a study of 1,063 patients sick enough to be hospitalized, remdesivir shortened recovery time. The drug also might be reducing deaths, although that's not certain from results of the study so far.

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“What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” Fauci said.

“This will be the standard of care,” and any other potential treatments will now have to be tested against or in combination with remdesivir, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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