Dr. Andre Kalil, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, speaks in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. Dr. Kalil, Kalil, who will oversee a clinical trial of the coronavirus at the medical center, said the study developed quickly in response to the virus outbreak that is centered in China. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
UPDATED 8:55 AM PT — Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Clinical trials are officially underway in Nebraska for a drug designed to combat the deadly coronavirus. The trials began on Tuesday and are being conducted at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha.
In a recent statement, the medical center said the tests will evaluate the safety and efficiency of the drug in hospitalized adults who have already been diagnosed with the virus.
The first trial participant is an American volunteer who was repatriated after being quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that docked in Japan earlier this month.
Meanwhile, health officials have said they expect to conduct the tests on hundreds of individuals across the globe.
“The plan for the trial is to test in close to 400 patients, that’s going to be the total amount of patients enrolled in the trial,” explained Dr. Andre Kalil, an infectious diseases specialist at UNMC. “…studies in animals have shown it cleared off the medication, but we don’t know if the medication will have the same effect in human beings and that’s why we we need to test in this randomized trial.”
This marks the first trial in the U.S. to evaluate possible treatment for the virus.