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UK launches new clinical trial to evaluate treatments for COVID-19

Clinical leaders are looking for people to be a part of a 14-day trial, where four different medications will be used on different patients.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Kentucky has just launched a new clinical trial for experimental therapies to treat patients infected with COVID-19.

The trial will investigate the effectiveness of azithromycin, ivermectin, and camostat mesylate. They are all drugs that could prevent the virus from replicating. They will either be tested as a stand-alone therapy, or combined with the antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine.

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Dr. Zachary Porterfield and Dr. Susanne Arnold, along with other leaders from UK's Markey Cancer Center, College of Medicine, and College of Pharmacy are at the forefront.

"I really believe that we're going to be able to offer something in Kentucky that won't be offered most places in the world," Porterfield said.

They wanted to focus on what would be valuable to patients and providers.

"Where we see a need or saw a need in Kentucky most especially, is in that group of patients who are at risk, or development of critical illness as they are tested and found to have the virus," Arnold said. "Many of the things that plague our state in particular, that also put you at risk for severe complications from the virus."

That includes people with things like diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

They say the trial has a “pick-the-winner” design, which will allow UK researchers to rapidly understand what potential therapies appear to be effective. The goal is to prevent patients from getting severe cases of the disease that would require hospitalization or put them in the ICU or on a ventilator.

Now they are looking for the right people to jump on board. That includes anyone that's been diagnosed with COVID-19 or received a false-negative test result in the last seven days. Along with having at least one high-risk feature such as hypertension, diabetes, or being immunocompromised.

The 14 day period will allow researchers to quickly understand what potential medications seem to be effective.

"Which if we act, we may actually help prevent the inflammatory phase that kills people," Arnold said.

RELATED: University of Kentucky to reopen campus in fall

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