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US-made antiviral drug could become standard in COVID-19 treatment

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief expert on infectious diseases in the White House working group, said Gilead Sciences' experimental antiviral drug will become the standard in the treatment of COVID-19, reports Voice of America.

Photo: Shutterstock

According to a key clinical study, doctors concluded that remdesivir manufactured by Gilead Sciences helps in recovering patients with COVID-19, a coronavirus disease, and also reduces mortality.

Preliminary results from a study conducted by the US authorities show that patients who were given remdesivir recovered 31% faster than patients who were given placebo - dummy tablets as part of the study. Anthony Fauci called these results "extremely significant."

“This is really very important,” said Fauchi, speaking to reporters in the White House. He compared this event with 1986, when doctors first discovered a drug that can treat HIV infection.

“This will be the standard of care,” said Dr. Fauci.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in talks with the drug manufacturer, Gilead, to provide it as soon as possible for the needs of patients.

“I want them to do this as soon as possible,” said President Donald Trump, answering the question of whether the FDA can urgently issue permission to use remdesivir in the treatment of COVID-19. The President noted that the administration is most concerned about the safety of the drug, however, “I would like to get approval very quickly, especially when it comes to a drug that works.”

However, Anthony Fauci warned that the latest clinical research data still needs to be carefully analyzed.

Doctors around the world showed an extremely high interest in remdesivir (an experimental antiviral drug that was originally intended to treat Ebola) due to the lack of a standard of therapy and a vaccine against COVID-19, which affects the lungs and other organs in especially severe cases.

In April, Gilead representatives said the company was ready to donate 1,5 million doses of remdesivir to hospitals, which is enough for more than 140 thousand patients, depending on the length of treatment. Approval of the drug by the FDA will allow it to begin commercial sales.

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The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institute of Health (NIH), reported preliminary results from a clinical study in which 1063 patients with COVID-19 participated. Patients receiving remdesivir recovered on average 11 days later, unlike those given a placebo: on average, they recovered after 15 days.

The study also showed that remdesivir may improve patient survival rates. Among patients receiving the drug, 19% died from COVID-8,0. Moreover, in the placebo group, 11,6% of patients became the victims of the disease. However, the difference is not statistically significant, and the increase in survival may not be related to the drug.

The full results of the study will be published in mid-May at the National Institute of Health.

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