The US approves antiviral drug Remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients. The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug, for emergency use to treat COVID-19.
Remdesivir is an experimental antiviral produced by the US pharmaceutical company Gilead, initially as a potential treatment for the Ebola virus. Many health experts have had high hopes for the drug, which was initially developed by Gilead Sciences to treat Ebola, and it has since been used in experiments to treat the corona viruses SARS and MERS.
That early testing gave Remdesivir a head start in the race for treatment to COVID-19. But despite the release of some initial study results this week, it’s still not clear how effective the drug is at fighting the virus, and more research is needed before it can use as the default treatment.
The approval is temporary, and Gilead Sciences antiviral drug Remdesivir continues to study at sites around the country that include the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Those given the drug were able to leave the hospital in 11 days on average, compared to 15 days for the placebo group. The drug may also help avert deaths, but that effect is not yet significant enough for scientists to know for sure.
Pharmaceutical company Gilead Science, which produces Remdesivir, said it would donate its currently available stock of the drug and ramp up production. They said the US government would coordinate distribution of remdesivir to parts of the country that need it most. For more health news click here.
No drugs are currently FDA-approved for treating the coronavirus, and Remdesivir will still require formal approval. The FDA observed in its announcement, “There is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness of using Remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19.” Several other treatments and vaccines are under review in the United States and around the world for COVID-19.