Miranda West, the clinical research manager for emergency medicine, said building that trust with all of the patients in the clinical trials was particularly rewarding. She and her team talk with patients and their families about participating in the trials, which are all voluntary; answer questions throughout the process; and follow up as the trial progresses, often building strong relationships over the weeks and months of the trial.
“When I talk to a patient, I try to meet them where they are, especially during this pandemic. People are scared; they want to talk to us; they want us to talk to their families,” West said, noting that her unit also had a Spanish-speaking staff member who could work directly with Latinx families without a translator. “I’ve been fortunate enough to follow many of them for the 30-day period, and to talk with them after they are discharged, and hear how well they are doing.
“It has been one of the biggest experiences of my life, being able to play a role in the scientific and humanitarian response to this pandemic.”
Duska said that both the School of Medicine and the UVA Medical Center have provided extensive support for the clinical trials, which can be an expensive enterprise.
“That financial support has been tremendous, and we appreciate the faith it shows,” she said. “We do this because we are passionate about the research and about finding better treatment options for our patients.”
Below, we explore four clinical trials of COVID-19 drug therapies either underway or completed at UVA, and their implications for patients and for the ongoing pandemic. These trials, all supported by the National Institutes of Health, are just a sampling of the many COVID-related trials underway around Grounds, testing everything from drug therapies and vaccine possibilities to the effectiveness of various nasopharyngeal swabs.