(NBC News) The experimental drug Remdesivir could be on its way to becoming the first approved treatment for COVID-19.
Early data on the drug, originally tested to treat ebola, shows it may be effective in combating coronavirus.
According to medical news website “STAT,” which obtained video of a discussion about the trial, the University of Chicago Medicine treated 125 patients, the majority of whom were seriously ill, with daily infusions of Remdesivir.
Two died, but most recovered so well they were discharged.
In a statement, the university said in part that drawing conclusions from partial data, would be “premature and scientifically unsound.”
Last Friday research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found 68 percent of patients in a smaller study were able to reduce oxygen support, including the use of ventilators, after receiving Remdesivir.
Infections disease experts are cautiously optimistic, but say more data is needed, including from trials where some patients receive the drug and others are given a placebo.
“It looks very encouraging compared to a lot of other medications and based on whatever is published so far, but we still need info from the randomized controlled trial and I’m optimistic we’ll have that information pretty soon,” says the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Adarsh Bhimraj.
There are numerous studies looking at Remdesivir.
Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is conducting one of the largest in the world, a double blind study where neither the doctor nor the patient know who is receiving the drug and the placebo.