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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

New Drug Trials Underway In Ohio For Use In Treating Coronavirus

Courtesy of University Hospital
Dr. Grace McComsey and Dr. Robert Salata.

Cincinnati Edition speaks with Dr. Grace McComsey and Dr. Robert Salata about the coronavirus and drug trials that are underway in Ohio to test the effectiveness of the antiviral drug Remdesivir for use in treating the novel virus. 



University Hospital Clinical Research Center in Cleveland will be looking at whether hospitalized adults who are moderately and severely ill with pneumonia due to the coronavirus will be helped by Remdesivir. The studies will be headed up by Dr. Grace McComsey, the Vice President of Research and Associate Chief Scientific Officer at University Hospital. 


“The need for rigorous, professionally conducted research, activity that goes on every day in our UH Clinical Research Center, is critical in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. McComsey in a hospital statement. “There is no established treatment for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The trials we are preparing to conduct are especially significant because they test an active antiviral treatment, rather than just supportive care.” 

In animals with the virus, Remdesivir, developed by the manufactuer, Gilead Science, "demonstrated activity against" infection, according to a hospital statement.  There were also studies that looked at some 500 Ebola patients that recieved Remdesivir, where the drug was shown to be safe and tolerable. University Hospital study participants in both drug trials will intravenously recieve either five days or 10 days of treatment with the drug. So far, the drug is considered experimental because it hasn't been approved by the FDA.

Dr. Salata is the Program Director of theUH Roe Green Center for Travel and Medicine and Global Health, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and International Health at Case Western Reserve University and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.  

Dr. Grace McComsey is Vice President, Research and Associate Chief Scientific Officer with UH Clinical Research Center. She is also the Director of the Dahms Clinical Research Unit.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.