Washington: US regulators have authorized the experimental drug remdesivir for emergency use against COVID-19, President Donald Trump announced on Friday. Also Read - Trump Confident That Coronavirus Originated From Wuhan Lab, Threatens China With Fresh Tarrifs
Notably, the Food and Drug Administration acted after preliminary results showed that patients hospitalised around the world with COVID-19 who received remdesivir (1,063 patients in total) had a 31 per cent faster recovery rate. Also Read - ‘Not Interested in US Election’: China Tells Trump Not to Drag Beijing Into America’s Internal Matter
Those given the drug were able to leave the hospital in 11 days on average versus 15 days for the comparison group. Also Read - Trump's Another Attack on China: 'Beijing Will Do Anything They Can To Have Me Lose Election Race'
The drug also might be reducing deaths, although that’s not certain from the partial results revealed so far.
The National Institutes of Health’s Anthony Fauci told Associated Press that the drug would become a new standard of care for severely ill COVID-19 patients like those in this study.
Gilead has said it would donate its currently available stock of the drug and is ramping up production to make more.
Notably, Remdesivir was originally developed to treat Ebola, and is designed to interfere with the way a virus reproduces, thereby stopping it from multiplying inside the body.
It has been shown to successfully block SARS-CoV-2 from replicating in vitro, and had activity against other coronavirus infections like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and COVID-19 in animal studies.
However, the maker of the drug has warned that remdesivir has not yet been licensed or approved anywhere globally and has not yet been demonstrated to be safe or effective for the treatment of COVID-19.
(With PTI inputs)