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Rugby doctor among many searching for COVID-19 cure

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Medical experts around the world are working everyday to learn more about COVID-19 and possibly find a vaccine or cure. One of those experts is from the Peace Garden State.

We spoke with the doctor about the latest in research and his message for rural areas, like his hometown.

“The friends I had, the teachers I had in school, really helped me develop,” said Dr. Caleb Skipper, Infectious Diseases fellow, University of Minnesota.

Dr. Skipper is a native of Rugby. He says growing up there really set the path for what he is doing now — working on the front lines trying to find a cure for COVID-19.

“The medication we are studying, the hydrochloriquin, is an anti-malaria drug that was developed in the 1950s,” said the doctor.

Last week at a press briefing, President Donald Trump announced the drugs were a game-changer.

“It’s shown very encouraging, very, very encouraging early results,” said Trump.

As for Dr. Skipper, he says it’s still too early to tell.

He said, “The reality is no one knows if these treatments work yet. We have optimism that they will, but the only way to determine that is to do a gold standard randomized clinical trial.”

If eligible for the trial, participants will either be given a placebo drug, or the actual hydrochloroquine drug.

Normally, a clinical trial takes years to complete, but because of the pandemic, things are being fast-tracked. Dr. Skipper says they hope to have data in a matter of months.

“Hopefully we will have an answer for the population soon,” Dr. Skipper said.

As he and his team in Minnesota continue to pursue a possible cure for the virus that has shaken up the lives of many, he says informing people that no one is immune to the pandemic is just as important.

He added, “I grew up in an environment that I am very fond of, but in an environment that I know sometimes people can think that issues that affect the rest of the world don’t affect us in these small towns.”

So whether you are in New York City or Rugby, North Dakota, Dr. Skipper says we all have a role to play to stop the spread.

They are still looking for more participants in the trial, to find out more information email: covid19@umn.edu

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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