Vall d'Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus together with four Spanish hospitals are joining two clinical trials to treat coronavirus cases with Remdesivir, a drug used during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
Both clinical trials are indicated for patients with severe and moderate respiratory illness. The promoter of the trials is the pharmaceutical company Gilead, which is specialized in antiviral drugs for HIV, hepatitis B and C and influenza. On one hand, patients with moderate respiratory symptoms, diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) will be studied and supervised under the coordination of Dr. Benito Almirante, Head of the Infectious Diseases Service of the Vall d'Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus and head of the Infectious Diseases Research group of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). On the other hand, patients with severe involvement will be studied and supervised by Dr. Ricard Ferrer, head of the Vall d'Hebron Intensive Care Service and head of the Shock, Organic Dysfunction and Resuscitation (SODIR) research group at VHIR.
As indicated by the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, the analysis processes could take some weeks and obtain a result within a couple of months.
The involved hospitals are: Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Hospital de Cruces de Bilbao and La Paz de Madrid. The Vall d'Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus and the hospitals of Alcalà de Henares, Ramón y Cajal and 12 de Octubre of Madrid, as well as Carlos Haya of Málaga are incorporated immediately to the project.
Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that acts inhibiting replication of infected cells and thus preventing the virus from multiplying and spreading. It was developed as a treatment for Ebola virus and infections caused by the Marburg virus. It was later discovered to exhibit reasonable antiviral activity against other viruses, including the respiratory syncytial virus, the Junín virus, the Lassa fever virus, and possibly the coronavirus that causes MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), the MERS-CoV.
The Minister of Health also explained that the Spanish Medicine Agency has authorized another trial promoted by the AIDS Foundation to treat confirmed non-serious cases. This treatment could be effective as a prevention strategy for people who have been close to confirmed positive patients. Similarly, Illa announced that the World Health Organization (WHO) is also collaborating and preparing a prevention trial for health professionals.