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UMMC Begins Clinical Trials for COVID-19 Treatments
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A UMMC ambulance that has been modified to transport COVID-19 patients
Kobee Vance, MPB News

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is launching clinical trials to help find effective treatments for patients with the Coronavirus. MPB’s Kobee Vance reports nine studies will be conducted over the next two weeks.

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There are no current treatments for COVID-19, but doctors at The University of Mississippi Medical Center have joined 44 nationwide sites in running clinical trials to find ways to save lives. Dr. Richard Summers, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, says the trials will include a variety of patients in every state of the disease.

“And will include everything from therapies for patients in the intensive care unit, and will also have patients who are early in the course of their infection. It will also include both adult and pediatric patients.”

The studies will work to answer one of two things: Will treatment kill the virus, or will treatment prevent severe symptoms?

Among the 9 studies being conducted, the hospital will be testing the drug hydroxychloroquine. Dr. Alan Jones, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine is leading the study comparing the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine to normal treatments.

“And that’s instituted early in the course of COVID-19 at the time of admission to the hospital. And the goal is to determine if it prevents death and respiratory failure from patients who have COVID-19 if it’s instituted early in their course.”

Dr. Gailen Marshall, Chair of Allergy and Immunology, is leading two additional studies. One study will take donor antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients and give them to critically ill patients. He hopes to begin those trials next week.

“In some other studies there have been some dramatic improvements, and as like in all of these we expect a spectrum of improvement, but we now have multiple tools to address the moderate to very severe COVID patients that we expect to see.”

The hospital is also expanding access to the field respiratory clinic, so more patients that need non-emergency medical attention can be referred to visit a physician.