New Covid-19 Treatment Approved
Researchers have been working around the clock to develop both a vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and medications for its treatment. One experimental drug, remdesivir, has received emergency-use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) according to the New York Times.
Remdesivir, is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, a California based biopharmaceutical company. The drug was originally developed to combat Ebola.
CNN has reported that a preliminary trial of the antiviral drug conducted by the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), showed that the use of remdesivir shortened the duration of the coronavirus in patients by 31% from 15 to 11 days. It may also reduce the likelihood of death, with a mortality rate of 8% for those taking remdesivir versus 11.6% for those in the placebo group. The test included 1,090 patients worldwide.
Typically, multiple published studies are completed on a drug before it is approved in a process that can often take years. In light of the current pandemic, remdesivir is being rushed to market.
The drug must be given intravenously over a period of 5-10 days and is for use only in a hospital setting. Shortening the average hospitalization period through its use will significantly reduce the current strain on the health system.
Remdesivir is just one of a multitude of drugs to counteract coronavirus currently being tested by researchers. It is likely that it will be the only therapy used against the virus but may very well become the new standard of care for critically ill patients until other therapies are developed and approved. According to Anthony Fauci, the head of NIAID, future promising drugs will be tested against patients taking remdesivir. In more normal testing situations, a potential new therapy would be tested against a placebo.
Gilead has said that it will ramp up production of the drug and should have sufficient inventory to treat 140,000 patients by the end of May.
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