There are no specific treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat people with COVID-19. Researchers from around the world are coming together to identify and test new and known products to prevent and treat COVID-19 through clinical trials. The testing and evaluation of new drugs for effectiveness prior to FDA approval requires a great deal of time. Absent proven treatments for COVID-19, healthcare providers are relying on drugs approved for other illnesses to use as supportive care for COVID-19 patients through clinical trials and compassionate use access.
As a community-based research institute, MultiCare’s Institute for Research & Innovation (MIRI), partners with physician-researchers to bring research studies to MultiCare that are tailored to best serve the medical needs of our communities across Washington State. In March, as we started to see cases of COVID-19 appear in Washington State, MIRI jumped into action to serve as an important conduit to bring potential treatment and prevention trials for COVID-19. Currently, MIRI is exploring over two dozen clinical trials to cover all bases from vaccines, antivirals, laboratory testing, and trials for managing symptoms related to COVID-19.
Antivirals reduce the viruses’ ability to replicate. Antivirals are known to decrease the severity and duration of symptoms.
Through MIRI, MultiCare hospitals are current offering antiviral clinical trials for moderate and severe COVID-19 patients. Remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences Inc., is an investigational broad-spectrum antiviral treatment. It was previously tested in humans with Ebola virus disease and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which are caused by other coronaviruses.
Few hospital systems are fortunate enough to have access to the drug trial, but Gilead Sciences, the biopharmaceutical company working to develop medicines for COVID-19, selected MultiCare due to MultiCare’s established Institute for Research and Innovation, headquartered in Tacoma, Washington.
“With MultiCare’s access to Remdisivir, research doesn’t just exist in academia but is taking place in the community,” says Dr. Vinay Malhotra, a physician and researcher with MultiCare’s Pulse Heart Institute and the MultiCare Institute for Research and Innovation and the principal investigator on the drug trial. “We are grateful to have this product here. If MultiCare didn’t have the research institute, our communities may not get access to these trials because the drug is in high demand.”
A vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that make it seem as if a person had previously been exposed to the disease or virus. Vaccines are preventative treatments.
For up-to-date information about COVID-19 trials enrolling new patients, visit Open Clinical Trials and use the search heading COVID-19. For general information about research and MIRI, please contact MIRI’s office at 253-403-7249 or [email protected]