for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at San Francisco, California and other locations
study started
estimated completion
Principal Investigator
Carolyn Carolyn, MDKathleen D Liu, MDLaura Esserman, MD
Photo of Carolyn Carolyn
Carolyn Carolyn
Photo of Kathleen D Liu
Kathleen D Liu
Photo of Laura Esserman
Laura Esserman



The goal of this project is to rapidly screen promising agents, in the setting of an adaptive platform trial, for treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients. In this phase 2 platform design, agents will be identified with a signal suggesting a big impact on reducing mortality and the need for, as well as duration, of mechanical ventilation.

Official Title

I-SPY COVID TRIAL: An Adaptive Platform Trial to Reduce Mortality and Ventilator Requirements for Critically Ill Patients


This platform trial will provide access to repurposed and investigational agents for critically ill patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 who have severe or life-threatening COVID-19. Any critically ill patient with known or presumed COVID-19 will be automatically entered into the screening phase of the trial until SARS-CoV-2 infection is confirmed. Basic data will be assembled for each patient (such as ventilatory status and survival). All patients who start high-flow oxygen (WHO COVID-19 level 5; > 6L oxygen by nasal prongs or mask) will be entered in an observational registry which will only require extraction of medical record data. Registry participants will be asked to sign a consent form for the backbone treatment and a specific investigational agent arm to which they are assigned. The primary endpoint will be time to recover to a durable level 4 (or less) on the WHO COVID-19 ordinal scale for clinical improvement. For this trial, a durable level 4 is defined as at least 48 hours at COVID level 4 or less (nasal prongs oxygen) without returning to high flow oxygen or intubation. Acute care facility resource utilization will be automatically calculated (total length of stay in a critical care setting, days intubated, and survival). Any change in status, including intubation, extubation, death or discharge, will be recorded and verified by the attending physician.

Patients will be evaluated based on their initial status (ventilation at entry vs. high flow oxygen). Exploratory biomarkers will be evaluated over time (ARDS phenotypes and other proposed markers) to facilitate clinical learning. The trial will begin enrollment with two investigational agents and quickly increase to four study arms as the pace of enrollment increases. The anticipated accrual will be 50 patients per week. The maximum number of participants assigned to an arm without graduation will be 125 patients. Agents can be dropped for futility after enrollment of 50 patients. It is anticipated that 10 investigational agents can be evaluated in the span of 4-6 months, depending on the time course of COVID-19 infections across the US. As the trial proceeds and a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the COVID-19 illness emerges, expanded biomarker and data collection can be added as needed to further elucidate how agents are or are not working. The study design features comparison of investigational agent efficacy using a Bayesian design, which will allow the detection of strong efficacy signals with the fewest possible patients. Initially the control will be patients given current standard of care (supportive care for ARDS, including lung protective ventilation and remdesivir as backbone therapy). As other treatments (for example, anticoagulation) become part of standard supportive care across sites, these will be added to the backbone therapy. If an agent meets the threshold for graduation the company leadership will be informed as will the FDA. The arm with the graduated agent will cease to enroll, allowing a new arm with a different investigational agent to be added. Information about agents disposition will be as follows:

Every trial participant will have blood collected at trial enrollment, day 3, and day 7 for pre-specified biomarker and DNA and RNA analysis. Additional biomarkers can be added as the trial proceeds. Patient outcomes will also be evaluated on the basis of whether patients are ventilated initially or not.


COVID-19 severe disease Platform Trial Critical Illness TAK-652 Apremilast Icatibant Remdesivir Cenicriviroc Razuprotafib Cenicriviroc (CVC) plus remdesivir Icatibant plus remdesivir Razuprotafib plus remdesivir Apremilast plus remdesivir


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

  1. Male or Female, at least 18 years old.
  2. Admitted to the hospital and placed on high flow oxygen (greater than 6L by nasal cannula or mask delivery system) or intubated for the treatment of (established or presumed) COVID-19.
  3. Informed consent provided by the patient or health care proxy.
  4. Confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection by PCR prior to randomization.

You CAN'T join if...

  1. Pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  2. History of allergic reactions attributed to compounds of similar chemical or biologic composition to study agent based on review of the medical record and patient history.
  3. Comfort measures only.
  4. Acute or chronic liver disease with a Child-Pugh score greater than 11.
  5. Resident for more than six months at a skilled nursing facility.
  6. Estimated mortality greater than 50% over the next six months from underlying chronic conditions.
  7. Time since requirement for high flow oxygen or ventilation greater than 72 hours.
  8. Anticipated transfer to another hospital which is not a study site within 72 hours.


  • University of California San Francisco (UCSF) not yet accepting patients
    San Francisco California 94115 United States
  • University of Southern California not yet accepting patients
    Los Angeles California 90033 United States

Lead Scientists at UCSF

  • Carolyn Carolyn, MD
    Associate Professor, Family Community Medicine. Authored (or co-authored) 11 research publications. Research interests: HIV primary care · HIV and hepatitis education/training · HIV and hepatitis prevention.
  • Kathleen D Liu, MD
    EDUCATION College: Harvard University, AB Medical/Graduate School: University of California, San Francisco, MD, PhD RESEARCH My current research areas of interest focus on the predictive and pathogenetic role of biomarkers for both acute and chronic disease states.
  • Laura Esserman, MD
    Dr. Laura Esserman, M.D., M.B.A is a surgeon and breast cancer oncology specialist practicing at the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center where she has also held the position of Director since 1996. She co-leads the Breast Oncology Program, the largest of the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center's multidisciplinary programs.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
QuantumLeap Healthcare Collaborative
Phase 2
Study Type
Last Updated