New study highlights underlying flaws in clinical trials of COVID-19 antiviral drugs

Clinical trials of antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19 have produced inconsistent results. New research from Indiana University indicates that the problem may come down to how these trials are designed.

Indiana University assistant researcher Keisuke Ejima and researchers at Nagoya University in Aichi, Japan, created clinical data-driven simulations to analyze how COVID-drug trials 19 are designed.

To best reduce the viral load, or the amount of virus in a person, the study found that participants needed antiviral drugs within two days of developing symptoms. But clinical trials on average get participants about five days after symptoms.

Ejima found that antiviral drugs started beyond five days had almost no effect on the amount of virus in a person.

“The timing of treatment is really important. If treatment is started after the peak, it’s hopeless, ”said Ejima. “We don’t see any difference.

While the study is entirely focused on clinical trial design, he said there are treatment applications as well.

“Once you feel sick, you should get tested and seek treatment. As soon as possible. Don’t wait,” Ejima said.

The study found that clinical trials would be improved – with fewer participants – by using criteria for symptom onset.

Contact Lauren at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

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