UMC Utrecht needs volunteers to test coronavirus medicine
UMC Utrecht is looking for a total of 170 volunteers for its part in an international study into a medication that can potentially treat coronavirus infections. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older and must have tested positive for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 within the past seven days to qualify for treatment with Ensovibep.
The international study, called Empathy, is looking into the safety and effectiveness of Ensovibep - a protein designed to block SARS-CoV-2 from attaching to certain cells in the body and thereby stopping the virus' spread in the body. The goal is to see whether Ensovibep can accelerate recovery from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, and help patients avoid hospitalization.
"This is a protein designed to block SARS-CoV-2 from attaching to certain cells in the body," the researchers said. It has already been given to healthy people in a previous study.
UMC Utrecht is looking for 100 volunteers for this phase of the study, and 70 volunteers for the next phase. People can sign up on a special Dutch-language website, and should select “EMPATHY” from the drop-down menu.
"Fortunately, the number of infections is declining sharply. At the same time, we cannot say that coronavirus is completely out of our lives," said professor Marc Bonten, medical microbiologist at UMC Utrecht and leader of the Netherlands part of the study.
If Ensovibep turns out to be effective and safe, "we could prevent aggravation of illness and hospitalizations," Bonten said. "Then, in addition to vaccines, we also have a treatment for people in the early stage of infection."