UNMC researcher finds one COVID treatment not justified

University of Nebraska Medical Center's Andre Kalil, Professor, Department of Internal...
University of Nebraska Medical Center's Andre Kalil, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine Director, Transplant Infectious Diseases.(University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 12:05 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As scientists race to find viable COVID-19 treatments, one researcher at the University of Nebraska Medical Center has joined the race by conducting multiple studies.

UNMC’s Andre Kalil, MD, was recently first-author for a study published in a major Britain medical journal - The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. His study evaluated “whether the combination of interferon beta-1a and remdesivir compared to remdesivir alone might work as a COVID-19 treatment in hospitalized patients.”

According to UNMC and Dr. Kalil, it did not.

UNMC states that the study chose interferon beta-1a “based on robust pre-clinical and clinical evidence that interferon could work in addition to other treatments.” Based on studies, Interferon beta has reportedly had a strong biological rationale to fight infections, such as COVID-19 and other viral infections.

However, Dr. Kalil did say that other forms of administration, such as inhaled interferon in the early stages of the disease, may have a different effect and that those are being studied by other researchers.

“Our interferon beta-1a trial shows how essential it is to test all potential treatments, including the most promising ones, in rigorous randomized placebo-controlled trials,” says Dr. Kalil. “Otherwise, these therapies may be used off-label for many years without providing any benefit to patients.”

Dr. Kalil adds that the most effective anti-viral therapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients is remdesivir - the only FDA-approved anti-viral treatment.

UNMC’s release states that the study, called the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial 3 (ACTT 3), enrolled 970 hospitalized adults with COVID-19. UNMC was among the top enrollers for the 63 sites in the United States and abroad.

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