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UMMC conducting clinical trials on COVID-19 treatments



University of Mississippi Medical Center
University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson

The University of Mississippi Medical Center announced Wednesday that it has started clinical trials on a number of promising COVID-19 treatments.

“It’s important to emphasize that there is no currently approved, commonly accepted treatments for COVID-19,” said UMMC Vice Chancellor LouAnn Woodward during a press conference, “but the way that you get to that point, where people understand what the treatment options are, and what medications and what interventions actually work, is … through the clinical trials process.

“So, this is important for our country. It’s important for our state, and mostly, it’s important for the patients.”

The UMMC trials cover the spectrum of currently available medical treatment options for patients of all ages and stages of the virus, from those early in the cycle to those in intensive care, said Dr. Richard Summers.

The university is conducting about 10 trials altogether, most in partnership with federal agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. About half of the trials are with critically ill patients.

Among the drugs being researched is hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump. To date, there is no definitive evidence that the drug is effective against COVID-19, although there is some anecdotal evidence. Another trial is with the antiviral drug remdesivir, originally tested for treatment of Ebola patients.

UMMC is also recruiting patients who have recovered from the virus to look for neutralizing antibodies in their plasma, which may prove critical in the development of a vaccine.

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