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Hennepin Healthcare clinical trials study drug which could treat COVID-19 patients

The clinical trials now underway at Hennepin Healthcare will study hospitalized patients with severe and moderate cases of COVID-19.

MINNEAPOLIS — Researchers at Hennepin Healthcare are joining sites across the world in studying a drug that could help patients who have COVID-19. 

The clinical trials now underway at Hennepin Healthcare will study hospitalized patients with severe and moderate cases of COVID-19. They'll get an IV of remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug. It was created to treat Ebola, but wasn't effective for that disease.

"It actually blocks the virus' ability to reproduce itself genetically. It blocks that replication," said Dr. Jason Baker, the Director of Infectious Disease at Hennepin Healthcare. 

Hennepin Healthcare joins sites across the world, including the Mayo Clinic, which are conducting these particular clinical trials. 

RELATED: Mayo Clinic: COVID-19 symptoms and when to go to the ER

"Having multiple studies can be helpful," Dr. Baker said.  "Having repeatability of the results is actually really important to establish that it works."

Baker says lab tests have shown the drug works well against the strain of coronavirus which causes COVID-19. The clinical trials will now determine whether it can work well in people, too.  

"Not just that it's helpful, but how it's helpful," he said. "Are we preventing people from getting on ventilators? Getting them off ventilators quickly? Are we able to send them home faster?"

As of Friday night, five people were enrolled in Hennepin Healthcare's trials and they're working on enrolling more. 

Dr. Baker says they could have some initial results from the trials as soon as the end of this month.

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what companies in Minnesota are hiring. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11

The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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