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Spokane Patients Part of Coronavirus Drug Trial

Courtesy of MultiCare

Three dozen Washington patients are part of a trial for Remdesivir, a drug doctors say has promise for treating the coronavirus, including five from Spokane.

Dr. Vinay Malhotra is the principal investigator in western Washington. He’s a physician and researcher at MultiCare’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Tacoma.

He says Remdesivir was developed as a treatment for the Ebola virus, but wasn’t effective and was never marketed for that. However, he says recent trials for patients with moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 showed promise.

Now the drug is undergoing further testing in several places in the U.S., including Washington.

“To date we haven’t lost anyone and our patients are being discharged and have done well. Now, again, cautious, because that’s one center. I have no idea how other centers have fared or how they have done," Malhotra said.

He says the pace of the testing of the drug is unusually fast.  

“Information is going back and forth in real time to tell folks what’s working, what’s not working or what dose is working or what dose doesn’t work. When to use, how to use and what to use, which is unprecedented. It hasn’t happened in the past in other diseases," he said.

The trial's investigator in Spokane is Dr. Daniel Coulston.

Malhotra expects results from the trials in Washington to be made public by the end of this month. He says patients interested in joining the trial can go to the MultiCare website or contact Dr. Coulston.