NIH launches trial of new COVID-19 treatment

The National Institutes of Health on Thursday launched a late-stage trial testing a new, blood-based COVID-19 treatment with Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir. 

The Inpatient Treatment with Anti-Coronavirus Immunoglobulin (ITAC) trial will pair remdesivir with anti-coronavirus hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobulin (hIVIG) to see if it will work as a treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. 

The ITAC trial will compare the health status of participants given both treatments compared to remdesivir alone, which will range from no limiting symptoms to death. The study will enroll up to 500 patients around the world, who will either receive infusions of the anti-coronavirus hIVIG and remdesivir or a placebo and remdesivir. 

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The study’s investigators think that administering anti-coronavirus hIVIG at the onset of symptoms could increase the body’s own immune response, which would reduce the risk of more serious illness or death

Anti-coronavirus hIVIG contains antibodies that come from the plasma of healthy people who have recovered from COVID-19. The antibodies are purified and concentrated so that the hIVIG contains more SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies than those typically found in recovered patients. 

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization to remdesivir in May after the drug showed modest success in reducing the time COVID-19 patients were in the hospital. 

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