President’s Posts

Michael Rao, Ph.D.

Official seal for VCU in black and gold.

March 24, 2020

Dear VCU and VCU Health colleagues,

We are proud to share that VCU researchers have started two clinical trials on a potential, experimental treatment for COVID-19.

Dr. Arun Sanyal, professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the VCU School of Medicine and a liver specialist and gastroenterologist at VCU Health, is leading the clinical trials of an investigational drug for patients with moderate and severe symptoms of the novel coronavirus, SARS-Cov2. The selection of VCU as a site for this global trial reflects our ability to bring multi-disciplinary care to clinical trials and in having the capacity, the breadth and the depth of expertise needed to manage these patients. Dr. Sanyal is internationally renowned for his work leading comprehensive clinical trials. These trials represent a first-of-its kind partnership between hepatology, infectious disease, critical care-pulmonology and cardiology departments at VCU.

At VCU and VCU Health, the research represents just one response to a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands worldwide, including hundreds in the United States. With no approved medications to treat the virus currently, there is an urgent need for effective treatments. These clinical trials and the ongoing research of nationally prominent universities like VCU will quickly advance how health care teams treat COVID-19 around the world. We appreciate the entire research team for standing up the clinical trial with such diligence in record time.

With this trial, VCU is one of a handful of institutions in the United States to make this clinical trial available to patients who meet the criteria for this investigational drug. The first randomized, controlled tests in the U.S. began in February.

Coronavirus has disrupted our lives and the lives of those we serve. We are driven by our mission to work seamlessly together to make this investigational drug therapy available to those who are most affected by this virus. We are very proud of our research and health care teams, who are working tirelessly to save lives and find solutions for patients with COVID-19.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your continued commitment to improving the lives of everyone we serve. These are very trying times, and your professionalism and dedication is inspiring. Please stay well and stay healthy.



Michael Rao, Ph.D.

President, VCU and VCU Health System


Peter Buckley, M.D.

Interim, Senior Vice President, VCU Health Sciences

Interim, CEO, VCU Health System

Dean, VCU School of Medicine


P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research ​​​​​​and Innovation, VCU

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