The NIH Gets ACTIV

Despite a sea of COVID-19 studies, just 2 drugs—remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone—have been shown to be effective treatments against COVID-19.

To expand the options, the US NIH is launching Accelerating Covid-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines—a coordinated “flurry” of large clinical trials aimed at clearing up the chaos of hundreds of smaller studies.

The ACTIV trials include studies of: 

  • Antiviral monoclonal antibodies
  • Drugs to quell immune system overreaction
  • Blood thinners

The quest reminds NIH Director Francis Collins of his time running the Human Genome Project—but with higher stakes.

“Nobody was going to die if we didn’t get the genome project done on a certain day,” he says.

STAT

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