05:16 GMT03 April 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has launched its first clinical trial of an experimental treatment for the coronavirus, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said in a statement on Tuesday.

    "A randomised, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational antiviral remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha," the release said. "This is the first clinical trial in the United States to evaluate an experimental treatment for COVID-19."

    The first trial participant is an American repatriated from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship that docked in Japan, the health agency said.

    Remdesivir, developed by US biotech firm Gilead Sciences, was previously tested in humans with Ebola and has shown promise in animal models for treating Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which are caused by other coronaviruses, according to the release.

    The US developed the current study based on designs from China where clinical trials of remdesivir are also ongoing.

    On Monday, the Trump administration asked Congress for an additional $2.5 billion for developing a coronavirus vaccine and preparing for a widespread outbreak. Earlier on Tuesday, President Donald Trump during a press conference in India said the coronavirus is "well under control."

    Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, 53 US citizens have contracted the disease. Three of them have been cured, while 50 are still receiving treatment. The number of confirmed cases has risen significantly in recent days after 19 new cases of infection were reported over the weekend. A total of 36 US citizens on board the Diamond Princess contracted the disease.

    The total number of confirmed cases worldwide since the start of the outbreak rose above 80,000 on Tuesday. Over 27,800 people have been cured of COVID-19, while more than 2,700 people have died after contracting the disease.

    Tags:
    clinical trial, treatment, coronavirus, trial, U.S
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