Clinical Trial Launched to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of the Antiviral Drug Remdesivir Plus the Anti-Inflammatory Drug Baricitinib for Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Infection.

A clinical trial has recently been launched to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the antiviral drug remdesivir plus the anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib for treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.  The clinical trial, which is also sponsored by NIAID, represents the next phase of NIAID’s Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial, or ACTT.  This new trial, known as ACTT2, will recruit participants with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and evidence of lung involvement.  Participants will be randomized to receive either remdesivir plus baricitinib, or remdesivir alone.  Among other outcomes, investigators will determine if there are significant differences in recovery time across the two treatment groups.  To learn more about the clinical trial, please visit the study site on, or search by identifier NCT04280705.

New Investigational Vaccine Against SARS-CoV-2 ChAdOx1 Shown to Protect Rhesus Monkeys from Infection with SARS-CoV-2-Induced Pneumonia

A new investigational vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, ChAdOx1, was recently shown to protect rhesus monkeys from infection with SARS-CoV-2-induced pneumonia.  The ChAdOx1 vaccine has proven successful in protecting against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which is closely related to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, and was recently modified for use with SARS-CoV-2.  Early evaluations of the vaccine in rhesus monkeys revealed that treated animals showed no viral replication in lungs, no pulmonary damage, and significantly reduced respiratory disease, all of which are consistent with protection against SARS-CoV-2-induced pneumonia.  These findings were shared ahead of print in order to inform and accelerate the public health response to COVID-19.

Treatment with a Repurposed Drug Can Help Mice to Lose Weight

An NIA-sponsored study has shown that treatment with a repurposed drug can help mice to lose weight and improve metabolic functioning.  This drug, disulfiram, is normally prescribed to treat alcohol addiction, but was investigated in the current study as an off-label means of treating obesity and metabolic dysregulation in mice.  Researchers fed middle-aged mice a high-fat diet across a period of 12 weeks, which induced obesity and metabolic dysfunction.  Then, they divided the mice into four treatment groups, including: (1) a standard diet group; (2) a high-fat diet group; (3) a high-fat diet + low disulfiram dose group; and (4) a high-fat diet + high disulfiram dose group.  Mice in the high-fat diet group continued to gain weight and experience metabolic dysregulation, while those who switched to the standard diet eventually lost weight and saw a return of normal metabolic function.  Mice in the two disulfiram groups, however, showed more dramatic weight loss and a near reversal of metabolic damage, including restoration of insulin sensitivity.  The research team hypothesized that these benefits may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of disulfiram, which appeared to protect the mice from the harmful effects of the high-fat diet.  The researchers noted that treatment with disulfiram could represent a potential therapy for obesity and related metabolic dysfunction in humans, should clinical trial evidence support it.  This study was published in Cell Metabolism.

Friends of NIA FY2021 Request

Friends of NIA submitted it’s request letter to the House Appropriations Committee on March 23, 2020.

The letter attached below, requests asks that federal resources be dedicated to sustain and enhance the timely and promising aging research at NIA and across the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Specifically, FoNIA requests:  

  • $44.7 billion – a $3 billion increase –  in FY 2021 for total spending at NIH, which aligns with the overall recommendation of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research; 
  • Within this amount, an increase of least $500 million specifically dedicated to support cross-Institute aging research at the NIH, including but not limited to biomedical, behavioral and social sciences aging research;
  • A minimum increase of $354 million specific to research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). The NIA is the primary federal agency supporting and conducting Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research.

CANCELED: National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers

Message from Dr. Richard Hodes, Director of National Institute on Aging

Dear All,

I deeply regret to inform you that NIA has canceled the 2020 National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers.

Throughout this rapidly evolving public health situation involving COVID-19, NIH is committed to ensuring the safety and health of our staff and community, including encouraging staff to telework to the fullest extent possible. We also understand that new and/or changing commitments, both at work and at home, may prohibit many presenters and attendees from joining us in a live two-day virtual event next week. We want to be respectful of the needs of individuals living with dementia who were planning to participate, and we recognize that a virtual summit could present unique challenges for this group. For these reasons, NIA will not proceed with hosting the event in-person or virtually on March 24-25, 2020.

Though we are disappointed, we are working diligently to identify alternate ways to engage participants in discussions about the state of care, services and supports research, in a manner that respects the needs of all members of our community. We will share next steps on the summit website at a later date. All registered participants will also receive updates via email when available.

We extend a special thanks to the Summit Steering Committee, led by Jennifer Wolff (Johns Hopkins University), David Reuben (University of California, Los Angeles), Elena Fazio, Courtney Wallin, and Chandra Keller (NIA), and many stakeholder groups for the countless hours and commitment they dedicated to the planning of this summit. Their work provided us with a substantial foundation to plan next steps for addressing the gaps and opportunities for research to benefit those living with dementia and their caregivers.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health