Authorities in the United States will allow the emergency use of Ebola drug remdesivir for treating patients with severe COVID-19.
The anti-viral drug was shown to help shorten the recovery time for people who were hospitalised with the coronavirus in recent clinical trials. However the emergency authorisation by the Food and Drug Administration means usage has been rushed through without the usual higher levels of review medication goes through before it can be rolled out for treating the public.
Medical experts have since warned that the use of the Ebola drug, which is manufactured by Gilead pharmaceutical company, should not be seen as a magic bullet for COVID-19.
Important first STEP The company will donate 1.5 million doses of the drug to help during the crisis, in what Gilead Chief Executive Daniel O’Day said during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office
US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases NIAID found that remdesivir shortened the duration of symptoms suffered by patients with Covid-19 from 15 days to 11 during clinical trials on 1063 different people with the virus in hospitals around the world.
Head of NIAID, Dr Anthony Fauci, said that the use of remdesirvir had a clear cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery. Even so, while the drug may speed up recovery, and potentially stop the need for some patients to be treated in intensive care, there was no clear evidence it could actually prevent further deaths from the virus.
On Saturday morning, 65,603 deaths from coronavirus have been confirmed in the US.