New data confirms that experimental drug Remdesivir reduces the recovery period for COVID-19 patients and can save lives. 

Foster City, California-based Gilead Sciences, Inc., which manufactures the drug, revealed new data on Friday, July 9, on the drug's late-stage clinical trial involving nearly 400 patients. 

According to a report from USA Today, the recent results show that 74% of patients treated with remdesivir had recovered after 14 days of hospitalization, compared to 59% of those who did not get the drug. Also, nearly 8% of the patients on remdesivir died by day 14, which is much lower than 12% of those who did not receive it. 

Gilead Sciences Inc pharmaceutical company is seen during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in California
(Photo : REUTERS/Mike Blake)
Gilead Sciences Inc pharmaceutical company is seen after they announced a Phase 3 Trial of the investigational antiviral drug Remdesivir in patients with severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Oceanside, California, U.S., April 29, 2020.

Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences recommended no to take remdesivir along with other drugs. This is after patients who combined the drug with hydroxychloroquine got worse results than those who only took remdesivir.

Remdesivir is initially developed as an antiviral for treating Ebola. It received emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19 patients, although U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for widespread use is still pending.

Nevertheless, President Donald Trump signed a deal with Gilead to purchase nearly all of the world's stock of Remdesivir last month. The U.S. has bought more than 500,000 doses of Remdesivir, which is equivalent to 90% of the production for July until September. This practically leaves nothing for the rest of the world.

Remdesivir is one of the two drugs that were proven effective in treating coronavirus. According to a May study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the drug was proven to shorten the recovery time of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and lower their respiratory tract infections. 

Meanwhile, the other is the steroidal drug, dexamethasone, which early research proves to cure even the most serious COVID-19 cases. However, steroids were found to be ineffective for those who do not need oxygen support, although further research is on-going. 

Both are recommended for use in certain patients by the National Institutes of Health and the Infectious Disease Society of America.

Gilead works on inhalant redeliver

While Gilead aims to increase the production of remdesivir, it is also developing the drug's inhaled form. Currently, the drug can only be intravenously delivered.

A pharmacist doctor works on the basics of the raw materials for investigational of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment drug
(Photo : REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
A pharmacist doctor works on the basics of the raw materials for investigational of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment drug "Remdesivir", in Ibn Sina laboratory, at Eva Pharma Facility in Cairo, Egypt June 25, 2020.

According to the newly released data, remdesivir seems to be safe and effective among high-risk groups. The drug appeared to be safe for pregnant women and children affected with COVID-19 without safety concerns raised in the new data.

Also, 56 out of 77 children treated with remdesivir were released from the hospital within a month, while three of them died. Meanwhile, around 90% of pregnant and postpartum women have clinically recovered from coronavirus.Gilead began more detailed research on the effects of the drug on both groups. 

Although patients in all groups showed benefit, the recovery varied by race, the data also shows that among the 229 COVID-19 patients from the U.S. who take redeliver, 84% of black patients showed improvement by day 14, compared to 76% of Hispanic white patients and 67% of Asian-American as well as non-Hispanic white patients.In a call with media on Friday, July 9, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Assistant Professor Dr. Thomas Tsai said that while he is happy that these drugs reduce help serious COVID-19 patients recover, none of these drugs is "a silver bullet" that would make the coronavirus disappear.
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