The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to grant emergency use of the experimental drug remdesivir to treat patients infected with COVID-19.
The news comes after the drug showed promising results in clinical trials, reported the New York Times.
The clinical trial began in February and remdesivir was administered to 1,063 hospitalized adults with COVID-19. Early results showed that patients given the drug recovered 31% percent faster than those which were given a placebo.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who oversees the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, praised the results as “good news”
“Although a 31 percent improvement doesn’t seem like a knockout 100 percent, it is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” Dr. Fauci said. “This is very optimistic.”
The FDA is in talks with drug manufacturer Gilead to make remdesivir available to coronavirus patients “as quickly as possible, as appropriate,”
“As part of the FDA’s commitment to expediting the development and availability of potential COVID-19 treatments, the agency has been engaged in sustained and ongoing discussions with Gilead Sciences regarding making remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible, as appropriate,” a spokesperson for the FDA told CNBC.
Remdesivir was initially developed to fight Ebola, but clinical trials in Africa proved disappointing and it was never approved for treatment.
Now the drug is showing much better results with treating coronavirus.
"We think it's really opening the door to the fact that we now have the capability of treating [COVID-19]," Fauci said.
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