He Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) has selected and approved for financing six new projects that will address preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic aspects of COVID-19, as part of the fund launched by the government to support research around the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the disease it causes.
The six new funded studies, which join the first two already announced, respond again to the main objective of promoting studies whose results have sufficient clinical strength so that they can be applied in the short term in patients and in the National System of Health. The trials that are being financed comply with the maxim of incorporating several centers of different autonomies, with the aim of offering the most global response possible to the pandemic.
Following a design based on the general strategy that the ISCIII has prepared in the investigation against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, these new projects will address preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of COVID-19.
On the one hand, two of the now funded clinical trials will evaluate a minimum of seven different treatments used in many hospitals, thus allowing scientific prioritization among the different options. The other studies address new diagnostic tests based on nanotechnology, the repositioning of drugs used in other indications, and a clinical trial of drug prevention in people who have not had SARS-CoV-2 infection.
These six new trials add up the first two already approved and financed, that are already in development and that analyze, respectively, the combined use of antiviral drugs with hyperimmunity blockers in early stages of the disease and the use of plasma with antibodies from already cured patients. In the eight studies funded at the moment, ISCIII has invested 2.6 million of the 24 million that the COVID-19 Fund has to support research.
The ISCIII has received more than a thousand proposals from centers in all the Autonomous Communities, and more approvals of new research projects will be announced soon, more oriented to the knowledge of the biology of the virus and the generation of patient records.
Two of the approved studies will reinforce the analysis of antiviral treatments, an area that is already developing one of the first trials financed by the COVID Fund19.
In the first, the research will compare three different treatment regimens with various antiviral drugs (hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir-ritonavir, and the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin). It is led by the Health Research Institute of the La Paz Hospital in Madrid (IdiPaz) and more than 30 hospitals from various autonomous communities will participate in it.
The second of the antiviral trials is part of the international Solidarity study of the World Health Organization (WHO), will be led by the Institute for Health Research of the Hospital Clinico de Madrid and will compare the comparative efficacy of the remdesevir, ritonavir / lopinavir, hydroxychloroquine, and beta interferon. The final objective is to find the best treatments for the disease as quickly as possible, thereby helping to reduce the heterogeneity of the therapeutic protocols that the different Spanish hospitals are using.
The third trial will be led by the University Hospital of Elche and will study treatment with a weekly dose of a drug (mefloquine, in pill form, which will only need to be taken once a week) as a prevention method so as not to develop the illness. This chemopreventive approach, whose effect will be compared to that of placebo, seeks to prevent the healthy population from contracting COVID-19, thanks to an option called pre-exposure chemoprophylaxis. Hospitals in the provinces of Alicante, Murcia and Madrid will participate in the trial.
Regarding the fourth trial, it will analyze a drug, called defibrotide, to try to reduce respiratory distress, which is the main pulmonary complication of COVID-19 and responsible for many patients requiring treatment in intensive care units. This is the first of the studies financed by the COVID-19 Fund that evaluates the repositioning of a drug, that is, the use of a drug already used in other pathologies to treat coronavirus disease. This trial is led by the Murcian Institute for Biomedical Research (IMIB) and hopes to have the participation of centers in Catalonia, Castilla León, Madrid and, internationally, with hospitals in the United States, Israel and Italy that have already shown interest in collaborating with the trial.
The fifth project, to be led by the Health Research Institute of the Hospital Clinico de Valencia (INCLIVA), will investigate the use of an alternative to propofol as anesthesia for patients who require intubation. The study will check if sevoflurane can replace propofol, guaranteeing its same efficacy and safety and, in addition, providing a reduction in the intubation time necessary thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Centers in Madrid, the Basque Country and Valencia also participate in this trial.
The last of the tests approved in this second round of financing from the COVID19 Fund is led by physicists from the Madrid Institute of Advanced Studies in Nanoscience Foundation (IMDEA-Nanoscience). It is a study that seeks to confirm the efficacy of a novel rapid diagnostic test that would reduce the waiting time required by PCR tests and that, thanks to nanotechnology that allows staining of patient samples, would facilitate and speed up reading. of the test results.