Antiviral drug remdesivir is showing promise as a novel coronavirus treatment, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced at a briefing today. The respected White House health advisor described the results as “quite good news” in the fight against COVID-19.
In the Gilead Sciences test that Fauci reviewed, the median recovery time for patients dropped from 15 days to 11, CNBC reports. The mortality rate appeared to drop as well, from 11.6 percent in the placebo group to just 8 percent of those receiving the drug, though he noted that the mortality findings did not yet represent a statistically significant group.
Fauci stated that the drug produced a “clear-cut positive effect” for coronavirus patients, adding that, “what it has proven is a drug can block this virus.”
The FDA is expected to announce an emergency use authorization for remdesivir, following “sustained and ongoing discussions” between the agency and California-based drug maker Gilead Sciences, with a goal of making the drug available to patients soon.
“There is very promising data about how effective this drug is against a virus,” Dr. Otto Yang, the infectious disease specialist overseeing remdesivir trials at UCLA hospitals, told Los Angeles earlier this month. “It’s like you’re building a chain of Legos, stacking one on top of the other. The genetic information on the virus is encoded in RNA, made of building blocks called nucleotides. When you put on a Lego that doesn’t have the right shape then the chain gets stopped. The hope is that this drug will make the virus stop making genetic copies of itself.”