U Of U Doctors Treating COVID-19 Patients In Remdesivir Trial

Apr 30, 2020, 6:16 PM | Updated: 7:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There was a surge of hope and excitement this week when Dr. Anthony Fauci said the drug remdesivir showed promise for some of the sickest patients with COVID-19. The drug is not FDA approved and is only given in clinical trials right now, but local researchers are eager to find out if it can safely help patients recover from the novel coronavirus.

“This is really the first piece of evidence that we have of any drug that has worked for this infection,” said Dr. Emily Spivak, an infectious diseases doctor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, adding that there is statistical evidence that remdesivir is active against this virus.

“There’s a lot of optimism I think,” she said.

But Spivak cautioned remdesivir is not a cure-all and won’t immediately wipe out the infection.

As part of a national trial, doctors were giving the drug to very sick patients with COVID-19 at the University of Utah to see how well it works. At this stage, the drug is given intravenously to hospitalized patients only.

Remdesivir is not a new drug — it was tested on Ebola patients, without results. Now, the university is giving it to approximately 10 patients while working with the drug maker, Gilead Sciences.

“Some have gotten better. Some haven’t,” said Spivak. “Was it the drug that helped them get better? Or was it their own body, their own immune system?”

It’s too early for conclusions, Spivak added.

But two studies suggest remdesivir reduced the duration of symptoms and may reduce deaths. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that those who took the drug recovered in 11 days, while those who did not take 15 days to recover. Those who took the drug were also slightly less likely to die.

“When we see something that almost seems to hold out this glimmer of hope, we jump on it almost like we’ve lost our minds,” said Dr. Samuel Brown, a critical care physician and researcher at Intermountain Healthcare. He is also a principle investigator on the studies being performed on the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin and their potential use for COVID-19 patients.

Researchers at Intermountain Healthcare are not participating in this trial for remdesivir, but they were thoughtful and skeptical as they watch the trials.

“This is not a miracle drug,” said Brown. “This will not cure COVID. This is not ever something that will save everybody from COVID. But, there is the suggestion that it may be moderately effective.”

He said it’s important to temper our expectations for any drug tested on COVID-19. But this is the first drug with any data showing any impact on the virus.

“We actually, for the first time, see a signal that we have something that might work,” said Spivak.

Under the pandemic circumstances, the FDA could come to a conclusion quickly, Brown added.

“They are working fast, and hard and smart,” he said.

Again, this is a drug being tested for the sickest patients. So doctors said it’s very important we all still work to do everything we can to prevent the virus from spreading.

KSL 5 TV Live


Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

8 days ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests indicating a positive result are photographed in New York, April...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

19 days ago

FILE - Doses of the anti-viral drug Paxlovid are displayed in New York, Aug. 1, 2022. The COVID-19 ...

Amanda Seitz, Associated Press

COVID-19 treatments to enter the market with a hefty price tag

The COVID-19 treatments millions of have taken for free from the federal government will enter the private market next week with a hefty price tag.

1 month ago

Toddlers dance during play time at Living Water Child Care and Learning Center as center director J...

Associated Press

Child care programs just lost thousands of federal dollars. Families, providers scramble to cope

After two years of receiving federal subsidies, 220,000 child care programs across the country were cut off from funding Saturday Utah

2 months ago

Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Assembly, right, announces the winner of the 2023 Nobel Pri...

David Keyton and Mike Corder

Nobel in medicine goes to 2 scientists whose work enabled creation of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19

Two scientists have won the Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries that enabled the development of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 and could be used in the future to create other shots.

2 months ago

child in doctor's office...

Mike Anderson

Flu, COVID cases expected to rise in Utah

The number of COVID-19 diagnoses continues to stay above what we saw over the summer but now some doctors are starting to see early signs of the flu as well.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

U Of U Doctors Treating COVID-19 Patients In Remdesivir Trial