UNMC Leading an International Study for COVID-19 Pill

Nov. 17, 2021, midnight ·

Wide photo of hospital building with a circle drive in front of a large brick building with several floors.
UNMC's lead researcher in the COVID-19 pill study is Dr. Diana Florescu. She is in the infectious disease department. (Photo courtesy of MPBurrows/Flickr)

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The University of Nebraska Medical Center has begun recruiting and screening for a COVID-19 prevention clinical trial. Lead researcher Dr. Diana Florescu is contributing to the international study of Molnupiravir, a COVID-19 pill.

Dr. Florescu said a separate study looked at the same drug and its effectiveness for outpatient care following a confirmed COVID infection. That study has good initial results and the pharmaceutical company MERCK is sending a request to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval. Dr. Florescu and UNMC’s study examines the pill’s use for preventative care.

“...Looking to see how the same drug, Molnupiravir, given to patients who were exposed to COVID-19, can prevent progression to symptomatic infection,” Florescu said.

The teaching hospital is recruiting and screening for participants in the testing until next spring. They’re specifically looking for people who live with and have been exposed to a COVID positive person. The trial will include 1,300 volunteers who aren’t vaccinated, so they can examine if the pill is effective by itself.

Volunteers will be randomly selected to take Molnupiravir or a placebo sugar pill. It’s taken as a five-day treatment, but Dr. Florescu urged the pill doesn’t replace a COVID-19 vaccine.