Andre Kalil, AP Images

A 9/11-era Om­a­ha fa­cil­i­ty, an old Ebo­la drug, and the ubiq­ui­tous Dr. Fau­ci: In­side the first US nov­el coro­n­avirus tri­al

The first 11 coro­n­avirus pa­tients who ar­rived in Om­a­ha last week, air­lift­ed across the globe af­ter two weeks quar­an­tined on a cruise ship, showed on­ly mi­nor symp­toms or none at all. And then one of them — or one of the cou­ple of Amer­i­cans who ar­rived lat­er — got worse. He de­vel­oped pneu­mo­nia, a life-threat­en­ing com­pli­ca­tion for coro­n­avirus pa­tients.

In a bio­con­tain­ment room at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ne­bras­ka Med­ical Cen­ter on Fri­day, doc­tors in­fused him with an ex­per­i­men­tal Gilead drug once de­vel­oped for Ebo­la, called remde­sivir. Or they gave him a place­bo. For the first time in the US, nei­ther he nor the doc­tors knew.

The first US nov­el coro­n­avirus tri­al was un­der­way and with it, a mad dash for an an­swer. Spon­sored by the NIH, the study marked a crit­i­cal point in the epi­dem­ic. Since the start of the out­break, the agency had helped lead a glob­al ef­fort to con­tain the virus. Now, as it spread world­wide and the CDC is­sued warn­ings the US could see a ma­jor in­ter­nal out­break, they were look­ing at home.

“We don’t have too much time,” An­dre Kalil, the tri­al’s lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor, told End­points News. “Every­thing’s mov­ing re­al­ly fast.”

Endpoints News

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