The National Institutes of Health said it will conduct a randomized, controlled clinical trial testing a combination of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir with Merck KGaA’s interferon beta-1a as a treatment for COVID-19 patients. The study plans to enroll 1,000 people who have been hospitalized because of a COVID-19 infection. The federal agency said it expects to have preliminary results in the fall. Since the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization to remdesivir in May, several clinical trials have been initiated that aim to pair the investigational therapy with other drugs to see if the combination can better treat severely ill COVID-19 patients. This includes another NIH trial pairing remdesivir with Eli Lilly & Co. and Incyte Corp. ‘s Olumiant. Roche Holding AG has also said it will test its rheumatoid arthritis drug in combination with remdesivir. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.