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Saint Louis University Studies Possible Therapies for Coronavirus

03/31/2020Media Inquiries

Carrie Bebermeyer
Senior Media Relations Specialist
bebermcl@slu.edu
314-977-8015

Reserved for members of the media.

Saint Louis University is studying an investigational treatment for COVID-19, the disease causing the current coronavirus outbreak. The trial, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), may be conducted in up to approximately 75 sites across the country and worldwide.

There are no treatments for the novel coronavirus, and SLU is testing what could be one of the first.

Sarah George, M.D.

Sarah George, M.D., is an associate professor of infectious diseases at Saint Louis University and the principal investigator of the trial in St. Louis. SLU file photo by Ellen Hutti. 

Currently patients with COVID-19 are treated for their symptoms, which can include fever, cough and breathing problems, but not for the virus itself. Those who are hospitalized and seriously ill also may receive advanced support for complications of the disease.

“We urgently need specific treatments for the novel coronavirus that is spreading in the U.S. and globally because there is no current medication for the disease,” said Sarah George, M.D., associate professor of infectious diseases at Saint Louis University and the principal investigator of the trial in St. Louis.

“With 30 years of experience in researching infectious diseases, SLU is ready to join the search for new treatments for COVID-19.”

Those who are eligible for the study must be at least 18-years old; hospitalized at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital; and have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19.

Please note, the study is not enrolling participants via inquiries from the general public.

The study investigates the safety and effectiveness of remdesivir, an investigational intravenous anti-viral medication, in treating COVID-19. As new potential therapies emerge, they may be added to the study for testing based on new data.

Study participants will receive the investigational therapies or a placebo when they are in the hospital. Their condition will be assessed daily by study nurses and investigators during hospitalization, as well as treated by hospital care providers.

After their hospitalization, study volunteers will participate in two follow-up study visits at Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development.

The coronavirus landscape is rapidly changing as the number of diagnosed cases of the disease continues to rise in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The need for this research becomes critical in St. Louis as the novel coronavirus has spread to the area, George added.

Supported by grant 1 UM1 AI148685-01, Saint Louis University was selected to conduct the research as one of nine Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the NIH. SLU has been a VTEU member since 1989.

Additional information about the trial, Adaptive COVID-19 Trial, is available at clinicaltrials.gov. To learn more about vaccine research at Saint Louis University, visit vaccine.slu.edu.


Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: infectious disease, liver disease, cancer, heart/lung disease, and aging and brain disorders.