An experimental antiviral drug remdesivir will be given to coronavirus patients in the US in the coming days, said the head of American biopharmaceutical company Gilead.
The announcement came Sunday a day after the company received authorization for emergency use of the drug to cure COVID-19 patients by the Food and Drug Administration.
“We are now firmly focused on getting this medicine to the most urgent patients around the country here in the United States,” Daniel O’Day told CBS’s Face the Nation TV program.
“We intend to get that to patients in the early part of this next week, beginning to work with the government, which will determine which cities are most vulnerable and where the patients are that need this medicine,” he stated.
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health found that remdesivir accelerated the recovery time for some coronavirus patients by four days.
Noting the company has donated its entire supply, which is around 1.5 million vials, the CEO said it turns into “around 100,000 to 200,000 treatment courses depending on whether it is a five-day or a 10-day.”
“We did that because we acknowledge and recognize the human suffering, the human need here, and want to make sure that nothing gets in the way of this getting to patients,” he added.
“They [the federal government] will begin shipping tens of thousands of treatment courses early this week and will keep adjusting that as the epidemic shifts and evolves in different parts, in different cities in the United States,” he said.
O’Day also announced that the remdesivir will be also exported to other countries after certain regulations.
According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, the US is the country hardest-hit by the global pandemic with 1,158,341 confirmed cases and 67,686 fatalities. In all, over 180,100 people have recovered from the epidemic.
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