US authorises Remdesivir for coronavirus treatment

US authorises Remdesivir for coronavirus treatment
An ampule of the drug remdesivir is pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised remdesivir for emergency use of coronavirus treatment. The drug is basically an Ebola drug.

The authorisation allows the anti-viral drug can now be used on people who are hospitalized with severe Covid-19.

The name of remdesivir has been circulating around for the last couple of weeks and in a latest development, a clinical trial showed the drug helped shorten the recovery time for Covid-19 patients who were seriously ill.

The FDA allows the drug for emergency use, which is not as formal approval, which requires higher level of review.

The drug is produced by Gilead pharmaceutical company and was originally developed to treat Ebola. Experts have also warned the drug shouldn’t be seen as a “magic bullet” for coronavirus.

Gilead Chief Executive Daniel O’Day said during a meeting with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office that the FDA authorization was an important first step.

He said the company would donate 1.5 million vials of the drug.

“It’s the first authorised therapy for Covid-19, so we’re really proud to be part of it,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, who was also presented in the meeting.

How the drug would helpful for the treatment?

President Trump has been one of the vocal supporters of the drug as a potential treatment for the coronavirus.

US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) found that the drug cut the duration of symptoms from 15 days down to 11.

Remdesivir also may reduce the likelihood that patients will die.

The NIAID said that trial results also suggested a survival benefit, with a mortality rate of 8.0% for the group receiving remdesivir versus 11.6% for the placebo group.

Normally, a drug’s efficiency wouldn’t be released too early, but Dr. Fauci, head of NIAID, said: “whenever you have clear-cut evidence that a drug works, you have an ethical obligation to immediately let the people in the placebo group know so that they can have access.”

Dr. Fauci said that remdesivir had “a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery”.

There have been several drugs being tested for the cure of coronavirus, Remdesivir is one of them.

Although the drug may possibly people having to be treated in intensive care, but the trials did not give any clear indication whether it can prevent deaths from coronavirus.

New York nursing home deaths

The news of potential coronavirus treatment drug comes in a time when a nursing home in New York reports 98 coronavirus-related deaths.

Manhattan’s Isabella Geriatric Center said 46 of its residents died after testing positive, while the other 52 were suspected to have had the virus.

And Dr Fauci has been barred from testifying next week to a congressional committee examining the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.