UC Davis research pivots to take on COVID-19

UC Davis research pivots to take on COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic is a health challenge of global proportions. UC Davis research teams are racing to find treatments for the deadly disease. The university, with its unique range of both human and veterinary medicine capabilities, now has 38 novel coronavirus studies underway at its campuses in Davis and Sacramento. This critically important work includes efforts to help develop a vaccine that would prevent infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and reduce its devastating effects.

With the rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, there is no greater need in the world than to identify safe and effective therapies to prevent novel coronavirus infections and lessen the severity of COVID-19 illnesses.

UC Davis Health already has 14 clinical trials underway, including studies of potential vaccines and medication treatments, as well research into the extraordinary impacts that the pandemic has had on the lives of people and specific groups such underserved and low-income communities.

Individuals who are interested in participating in a clinical study can visit this UC Davis Health page for more information.

Here are the latest COVID-19 clinical trials at UC Davis Health:

  • Vaccine Research Study

    Currently, there are no approved vaccines available to prevent COVID-19. This study of 30,000 participants worldwide, in partnership with Pfizer Inc. and BioNT S,E involves comparing an investigational vaccine against a placebo (an inactive substance) to see if the investigational vaccine can prevent COVID-19. Volunteering for this study could make a difference as we work to develop a way to prevent the disease. Read the press release about our vaccine study here.

  • Testing Sarilumab in Hospitalized Patients With COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

    This study will test the safety and effectiveness of experimental drug, sarilumab, on hospitalized patients. For this study, it is considered an experimental drug. It hasn’t been approved by the FDA for COVID-19 treatment. However, it has been approved in multiple countries for active rheumatoid arthritis. The main purpose of this clinical trial is to determine if sarilumab is safe, and if it can decrease the amount of time a hospitalized patient suffers from COVID-19 symptoms.

  • A Study of the Experimental Remdesivir for the Treatment of COVID-19

    This is another study on the experimental use of the antiviral medication remdesivir for patients with COVID-19.  The drug has been shown to have benefits against previous types of coronaviruses – such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV – in animals. This particular study is for patients with no other standard acceptable treatment options.

  • Coronavirus' (COVID-19) Impact on Low-Income Mexican American Families

    This study is being conducted by the UC Davis Department of Human Development. It seeks participants from the California Babies Project to examine the effects of coronavirus on families. California Babies is a study of low income, Mexican American families in the greater Sacramento area. It consists of a brief survey over the phone. Questions focus on health, finances, employment, and childcare.

  • COVID-19 Survey for Workers

    UC Davis Health researchers hope to learn about the impacts of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak on workers throughout the nation. The research team hopes to understand more about how the coronavirus and related shelter-in-place (lockdown) measures have affected people, their jobs and workplaces, and their families. The study consists of an online survey that takes about 20 min. to complete.

  • Experimental Anti-Viral Therapy for Moderate COVID-19 Infection

    This study will be conducted in people who are hospitalized or confined in a hospital-associated health facility for COVID-19. The main purposes of the study are to learn about the side effects and tolerability of the experimental anti-viral therapy AT-527 in people with COVID-19 (safety). It will also analyze whether the drug is an effective treatment for COVID-19 (efficacy).

  • Telehealth Use for Type 1 Diabetes Amid COVID-19

    The purpose of this study is to better understand the benefits and barriers to telehealth use for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Study participants will complete a short survey online. It will ask about experiences with, and opinions on, the use of video visits for diabetes care.

  • Testing Experimental Drug Selinexor for Severe COVID-19 Infection

    Selinexor (KPT-330) is approved for the use in certain patients with a type of cancer called multiple myeloma. It is considered experimental for use in COVID-19. The research will try to determine if selinexor speeds up a patient’s recovery, decreases the amount of virus in a person’s body, shortens hospitalization, and reduces complications or chances of dying compared standard treatments.

  • Use of PET/CT Radiotracer to Locate Possible COVID-19 Lung Damage

    Respiratory problems have been one of terrible hallmarks of COVID-19 infections. UC Davis Health researchers have developed a new drug to aid in the detection of lung damage. This drug is called a “radiotracer." It attaches to damaged cells and shines a light that can be seen using a special camera, known as positron emission tomography, or PET scanner. The research team is seeking participants to help them assess whether the new radiotracer improves their ability to locate possible lung damage and perhaps improve treatment and care.

UC Davis has been dedicated to finding answers to the novel coronavirus since UC Davis Medical Center providers diagnosed and treated the nation’s first apparent community acquired case of COVID-19 in February of 2020.

Our current efforts involve extensive UC Davis collaborations, ranging from pulmonologists and infectious diseases specialists to pathologists, virologists, the California National Primate Research Center and the Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases.

UC Davis is focused on developing a better understanding of the biology and pathology of this new virus so we can create the most effective treatments and diagnostic approaches for patient care.