UPDATED 4/29, 10:50 a.m. ET: Gilead Sciences announced Wednesday that it's "aware of positive data emerging from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' (NIAID) study of the investigational antiviral remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19," CNN reports.
According to the announcement, the trial me its "primary endpoint," and the NIAID will provide "detailed information at an upcoming briefing," In the study, 62% of patients who received early treatment were discharged from the hospital, while 49% of patients who received late treatment were discharged, according, the company said in a press release.
According to The New York Times, the FDA plans to announce emergency approval of the drug as early as Wednesday. "The FDA, literally as we speak, is working with Gilead to figure out mechanisms to make this easily available to those who need it," Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters at The White House.
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A newly published report has offered a glimmer hope in the ongoing fight against coronavirus.
According to STAT News, COVID-19 patients at a Chicago hospital have experienced "rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms," after receiving treatments of remdesivir—an antiviral medicine developed by Gilead Sciences Inc. The outlet cites data from the University of Chicago Medicine, where 125 coronavirus patients were recruited to participate in Gilead's remdesivir trials. Of that group, 113 patients had severe cases, but the majority were discharged less than a week after starting therapy.
Kathleen Mullane, an infectious disease specialist overseeing the studies at the hospital, addressed the results earlier this week during a presentation with University of Chicago faculty members. STAT obtained a video recording of the discussion.
"The best news is that most of our patients have already been discharged, which is great," Mullane reportedly told her colleagues. "We’ve only had two patients perish."
Mullane, however, cautioned against jumping to conclusions about remdesivir's effectiveness in treating COVID-19, as the study lacked a control arm.
"It’s always hard. But certainly when we start [the] drug, we see fever curves falling," she continued. "Fever is now not a requirement for people to go on trial, we do see when patients do come in with high fevers, they do [reduce] quite quickly. We have seen people come off ventilators a day after starting therapy. So, in that realm, overall our patients have done very well."
Remdesivir, which was originally developed to treat ebola, is being studied in health facilities around the world as a possible treatment for coronavirus. According to STAT, Gilead is expected to release results from clinical trials involving severe cases later this month. The company wrote in a statement this week: "What we can say at this stage is that we look forward to data from ongoing studies becoming available."