ORANGE (CBSLA) — Researchers around the world are joining forces to help develop treatments for the novel coronavirus.

A clinical trial is underway at UC Irvine Medical Center.

The work is being done in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health.

“[Remdesivir] is an antiviral drug, so it seeks out the genetic code of the virus, and as it seeks it out, it goes and attacks the virus and destroys it,” said Dr. Alpesh Amin.

Researchers and doctors are confident that even though this virus is new, the drug they’re studying, seems promising.

“We’ve seen its usage a little bit with MERS and SARS in the past,” Amin said. “It was originally used for Ebola.”

People who test positive for coronavirus at UCI medical Center can be enrolled in the medical trial, but doctors say that to be qualified for the inpatient trial, they must be showing serious symptoms and be hospitalized.

The antiviral drug is given intravenously. So far at UCI, one patient has been admitted to the double-blind trial, meaning that neither the doctor nor the patient knows whether the drug or a placebo is being administered.

“If a trial is coming out to be very, very positive, meaning that the results in the treatment arm compared to the placebo arm, at that point in time, sometimes the trial could actually be stopped and the FDA could review the data and decide whether it wants to approve it,” Amin said.

People who are pregnant or who have existing liver or kidney problems are not permitted to participate in the trial.

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