UNC-CH researchers move to next phase of developing COVID-19 treatment


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)- Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill have moved into the second phase of development for a COVID-19 treatment.

Rather than provide protection from the virus, the vaccine would treat patients who have moderate cases of COVID-19. The treatment’s goal is to keep patients out of the hospital and to prevent the development of serious effects of the virus.

Under the ACTIV-2 study, researchers would have the opportunity to study a number of treatments as they become available. In a typical study, only one treatment would be studied and if that proves to be ineffective or unsafe, it’s removed and researchers have to start over. UNC’s plan allows for treatments to be introduced without having to start at square one.

“It means we’re not locked into any sort of time table and as promising agents get identified they can enter, the study and be compared,” said Dr. David Wohl who co-leads a respiratory diagnostic center at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill.

Wohl said this study also combines the traditional phase 2 and phase 3 portions of a clinical trial. As participants start to show positive results from a treatment, there could be a gradual increase to more patients into thousands of participants.

The successful treatment would allow a person to can help relieve symptoms, keep them from getting sicker, shed the virus, and prevent a person from having to go to the hospital.

Participating in the study

UNC will need volunteer participants for the study.

Participants should:

  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week
  • Have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Be recovering at home rather than a hospital

More information on study eligibility here.

There are six active test sites now, that number is expected to grow to 25 in the coming days. Eventually, there will be 100 test sites across the country.

Participants should expect a screening followed by a visit with a researcher to be placed into a treatment group. Over the next six months, participants would visit with a researcher up to seven more times and receive follow up phone calls.

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