USF researcher working trials to find coronavirus treatment

TAMPA, Fla. — University of South Florida researchers, in connection with Tampa General Hospital, are working through nearly 20 clinical trials to find effective treatments or a cure for COVID-19.

Rachel Karlnoski, the director of clinical research operations for USF Health, says some early results are giving her hope.

“Time is of the essence,” Karlnoski said. “We need to be able to get as many treatments as possible out there to the public as we can.”

The research runs the gamut—with trials examining different medicines and methods of treatment—with the potential to impact how the virus is treated at both a symptom level and a cellular level.

Data collected from these multiple studies is being fed into a national registry in collaboration with hundreds of other locations across the U.S. and even globally, according to Karlnoski.

“We put all of our data together and that data is analyzed,” she said. “It really allows us to meet that sample size requirement to find statistical significance as quickly as possible.”

Karlnoski says the typical start-up time frame for new clinical trials in an academic medical center is 90 days or more. But, they’ve been able to start these trials in five or fewer days. She says everyone should have hope that an effective treatment is possible.

“There are many, many, many people working day and night trying to find treatment, create vaccines, create different kits to measure the virus and make these methods more accessible,” she said. “We just want to have an arsenal of treatments available for those patients.”

Timelines will differ for each study with results depending on sample size and enrollment rate, Karlnosk said.

Those interested in being a part of a clinical trial can contact the USF Health Office of Clinical Research

Here are the clinical trials underway or in the process of being launched:

Sarilumab is being tested to determine if it effectively blocks inflammation in the lungs of severely sick COVID-19 patients in the hospital.Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that could help kill the virus, is being tested in both adults and children who are critically sick with COVID-19.Brequinar, an antiviral drug, is being tested as potential treatment of COVID-19.Hydroxychloroquine is being tested on three groups:Several sick patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19.Healthcare workers who are at high risk of contracting the virusPatients who have tested positive for COVID-19 but do not need to be hospitalized.Convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 or who currently have it is being tested to treat current patients.3D printed nasal swabs are being tested to determine effectiveness compared with standard swabsThe use of inhaled nitric oxide is being tested for COVID-19 who can recover at home but need supplemental oxygen.Ruxolitinib is being studied to determine if it can ease or stop when a COVID-19 patient’s immune system becomes overwhelmed and attacks healthy cells.

Other studies are looking at methods of treating pneumonia associated with cases of COVID-19.

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