FDA Approves Remdesivir as COID-19 Treatment
Although on May 1, 2020, it was partially approved as a treatment for coronavirus, Gilead Sciences’ Remdesivir (Veklury) is now a fully approved COVID-19 treatment for patients in the United States- according to CNBS News. Last Thursday (October 22, 2020), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Remdesivir for patients who are over 12 years of age and hospitalized.
Gilead Science claims that it is now the only FDA approved COVID-19 medication. It is an intravenous antiviral drug that showed significant improvements in COVID patients in hospitals by shortening the recovery time.
What was Remdesivir Used for Before?
It has not always been very clear. Remdesivir has always been known as an investigative drug. Although we know it to be a versatile antiviral, it has never been used to treat a specific condition. Scientists have studies this drug for possible treatments for the following:
- MERS, and now
However, all those studies before coronavirus were done on animals and Remdesivir never reached clinical trials on humans. It has the ability to stop a virus from producing a particular enzyme that is required for the virus to replicate. Therefore, it doesn’t really stop a virus from infecting a patient. It simply stops it from reproducing and spreading all over the body. Then the natural immune system of the body should be able to get rid of the virus over time.
Gilead recently donated all its Remdesivir stock to the US government to be used nationwide. This FDA approval is a welcoming news to the American people and to all infected by COVID-19, which has infected 41.2 million people and claimed the lives of more than 1 million worldwide according to the data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
What Health Experts Say about the Approval
World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a study in early October and found no significant impact of the drug among hospitalized patients. However, it has shown some effect in reducing the recovery time. That means that after the worst has passed and the patient is out of the ventilator, Remdesivir comes into play.
The nation’s leading infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, however, expressed a different opinion.
‘This drug would set a new standard of care for COVID-19 patients’- Anthony Fauci.
Dosages and Cost of Remdesivir
US patients in hospitals generally received a 5-day course with 6 vials of this medication. Remdesivir under the brand name Veklury costs $2,340.00 for a 5-day course. This price is considering that the patient is covered by government health programs in the USA. It will also be the same in other countries. US patients with private health insurance can expect the price to be $2,120.
What It Means for Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences has worked relentlessly during this COVID pandemic era and their efforts seem to have paid off. After the partial approval in May, more than 50 countries outside the United States started using Remdesivir to some extent. Now that it’s been fully approved, the Gilead stock rose 5%.
Gilead will most likely start producing an oral version of this. For now, Remdesivir can only be administered in a hospital via injection or IV. There is also an inhaler version on the way.
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