(TIME) — As COVID-19 continues to spread both around the world and in the U.S., two separate efforts to find a medical solution to the virus are moving forward.
The first patients in a test for the antiviral drug remdesivir have been confirmed; a major vaccine study is currently screening volunteers.
A number of U.S. passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship were brought to Nebraska for quarantine; two of these passengers have agreed to participate in a trial for remdesivir, an antiviral drug originally developed for Ebola, but which showed encouraging results in animals in fighting SARS and MERS, two other illnesses caused by coronaviruses.
The drug is designed to treat infections that are moderate to severe, and is targeted to those with the most intensive symptoms. In order to qualify for the remdesivir study, run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), patients must test positive for COVID-19 and have pneumonia. Of the more than two dozen people diagnosed with COVID-19 from the cruise ship who were brought to Nebraska for quarantine, four required hospitalization and two developed pneumonia. Those two patients were asked if they wanted to volunteer for the study, and both agreed, says Dr. Andre Kalil, professor of medicine in the division of infectious disease at University of Nebraska Medical Center.