Pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc. on Wednesday announced that an early trial of its experimental anti-viral drug remdesivir indicates that the medication could be effective in treating coronavirus patients early in the infection’s onset.
According to the study, 62 percent of coronavirus patients treated with the drug early on were discharged from the hospital, while 49 percent of patients treated late were discharged. The study looked at 397 patients with severe coronavirus infections.
The drug could become part of “a robust toolbox” to treat coronavirus, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC.
“As we’ve been saying for some time now, accumulating data on Remdesivir suggests it’s active against covid and there’s now enough data to support consideration of access under an emergency use authorization by FDA,” Gottlieb wrote on Twitter.
There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus, and vaccine development could take roughly a year to complete. Doctors also have few options for treating patients who have been hospitalized with infections.
Various U.S. officials, including President Trump and New York governor Andrew Cuomo have floated the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment based on anecdotal evidence. But the drug has been found to cause serious side effects in some patients.