Could remdesivir be the answer to our collective prayers? Doctors all over the United States are hopefully optimistic that the experimental drug could be a huge breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced the news during a press brief earlier this week.
Fauci says the breakthrough is “quite good news” for all of us!
Here are some remdesivir facts that are offering hope and optimism for people everywhere. The news is welcomed bright spot, as states seek to reopen their economies and Americans get back to work.
- Remdesivir was shown to reduce the time patients were hospitalized by 31% to 11 days on average versus 15 days under the previous care protocol. The medicine may also reduce deaths. Data in this area is still being gathered. As it stands, around 8% of those on the drug passed away, in contrast to the 11.6% in the comparison group. Scientists say these results aren’t enough to make definitive claims that remdesivir is the cause.
- Remdesivir has only been tested in people with moderate to severe illness so far. So far, the drug has only been administered through IV to those who were hospitalized.
- The people involved in the study were part of “a very big span of illness.” Those participating ranged from people who only needed a little extra oxygen to those who were placed on ventilators, said Dr. Elizabeth Hohmann, of Massachusetts General Hospital. “We need more information to see how best to use it going forward.”
- Remdesivir is not yet approved for use anywhere. Given the situation, the FDA could make it immediately available using an “emergency use authorization.” Under the authorization, the FDA can amend the rigorous standards necessary for approval. This move takes place under the premise that the benefits of a particular drug outweigh its risks. This was already done for hydroxychloroquine. Dr. Fauci believes the drug will get emergency approval “really quickly.” Fauci also confirmed that he spoke with Stephen Hahn, FDA commissioner, about remdesivir Wednesday evening.
Remdesivir Costs To Be Kept As Low As Possible
- Gilead has begun ramping up production, aiming for more than 500,000 treatment courses by October and over 1 million by December. And, according to Chairman Daniel O’Day all of those courses would be donated. Gilead’s own testing revealed five days of treatment appear to be as good as ten days, so the estimates of how many people can be treated with the supply in production can likely double.
- Remdesivir benefits extend not only to patients who receive the treatment, but to others as well. “We create more availability in our hospitals,” and increase capacity for other patients — both COVID related and non-COVID related.
- Remdesivir will become the standard of care if approved by the FDA. According to Dr. Fauci, other treatments would then be tested against remdesivir, or in combination with the drug.
- Dr. Max Parmar, of University College London, said remdesivir would likely need to be combined with other treatments to see the most success. This is particularly true since many other diseases require joint treatment as well. The data “suggests remdesivir could be the backbone of treatment, but other drugs may be needed,” Parmar said.
Read more about the studies and trials HERE.