LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

LSU Health New Orleans Infectious Diseases Specialists Cautiously Optimistic About Investigational Drug They're Using


LSU Health New Orleans physicians who have been treating COVID-19 patients on the front lines for months secured approval of a protocol for Expanded Access use of the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir in their hospitalized patients with severe manifestations of the disease.

Dr. Julio Figueroa, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Infectious Diseases at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, expressed cautious optimism at the results just announced by Gilead Sciences, Inc. of a clinical trial investigating the drug.

Dr. Figueroa says, “While the results are preliminary, we are encouraged that remdesivir may be helpful for some of our severely ill patients. We are currently using it under the FDA’s Expanded Access Program, which permits the use of investigational drugs outside of a clinical trial.”

After the existence of novel coronavirus 19 now called SARS-CoV-2 became known, LSU Health New Orleans clinicians and scientists began gathering and evaluating the information emerging about the virus and the disease it causes. That included patient outcomes as clinicians in places hard hit by the virus tried a number of drugs for a disease that has no treatment. After careful evaluation of the best information available, LSU Health New Orleans physicians designed protocols for clinical trials to contribute to the body of knowledge while also taking the steps leading to approval to use the medications that seemed to show the greatest promise outside of a clinical trial.

Protocols need Institutional Review Board approval and must meet other requirements of the FDA Expanded Access Program.

“We continue to work closely with our partner teaching hospitals in this process to find the most effective treatments for our patients,” Figueroa concludes.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans (LSU Health New Orleans) educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's health sciences university leader, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine with branch campuses in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous annual economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment or cure disease. To learn more, visit,, or

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