MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Donald Trump ordered the Food and Drug Administration Thursday to fast-track two drugs to treat COVID-19.

The University of Minnesota is testing one of them right now, and they are looking for participants to help in their trials.

Dr. Tim Schacker is an infectious doctor and Vice Dean for Research at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He and his team leading three anti-viral COVID-19 trials.

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“Anti-viral medications … there are a lot of them. There just aren’t any at the moment for SARS CoV2, the cause of COVID-19,” Schacker said.

Two of the trials have already started, testing anti-viral drugs to reverse the symptoms of COVID-19, and the other to prevent someone from getting sick if they test positive for COVID-19, but aren’t showing symptoms.

The third trial they are doing is to prevent someone from getting COVID-19 who is directly exposed to it. That trial hasn’t started yet, but they are looking for 1,500 participants to take this drug who have direct contact with people who have COVID-19.

If successful, this drug would allow people, like health care workers, continue to work without the risk of getting sick themselves.

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“That would be a game changer, that would be huge,” Schacker said.

And while all of us are quarantined and practicing social distancing right now, these U of M researchers are risking exposure for the sake of finding a cure.

“We’ve gotta see the patients, we gotta be with the patients,” Schacker said. “That’s just the only way we’re going to be able to get this done.”

To be eligible for this trial, you must have had high-risk exposure to someone with COVID-19 within the past three days.

Half of the participants will get the anti-viral drug, and the other half will get a placebo vitamin.

To sign up for the study or learn more information, email covid19@umn.edu.

Marielle Mohs

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