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Telegram: Robert Finberg explains UMass Medical School role in promising COVID-19 drug trial

UMass Medical School Communications

May 01, 2020
Robert W. Finberg, MD

Thirty-one patients with severe COVID-19 were enrolled in the randomized, controlled clinical trial of the drug remdesivir at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s University and Memorial campuses, overseen by lead investigator Robert W. Finberg, MD, the Richard M. Haidack Professor of Medicine, and chair and professor of medicine at UMass Medical School, according to a May 1 article in the Telegram & Gazette. The trial was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In all, the trial involved 1,063 adult patients at 68 sites around the world, and showed that the drug can provide a significant reduction in recovery time for critically ill patients. It is expected to receive emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for treating COVID-19 patients, becoming the first treatment for the disease.

“I’m very optimistic just because this very likely will not be the best drug, but it’s a good place to start,” Dr. Finberg told the Telegram.

He said all but one of the local patients in the trial have survived and he has also given the drug to about six other seriously ill patients through an expanded access study though Gilead Sciences Inc., the California-based biopharmaceutical company that developed it to treat people during the West African Ebola outbreak.

Preliminary results showed that seriously ill patients who received the investigatory drug recovered 31 percent faster than those who received a placebo.

In a STAT article published on May 1, Finberg said the drug shows promise.

“I think we’ve been very rewarded by the outcomes,” he said in the STAT article. “Now, obviously, some people are going to get better on their own. And that’s great, too.”

Read the full stories, below:
Telegram: UMass Memorial among remdesivir test sites for COVID-19 patients
STAT: Doctors anticipate patient requests for experimental remdesivir before all the evidence comes in