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Antiviral drug sped COVID-19 recoveries in new study



An antiviral drug originally developed for use against the Ebola virus in 2015 has shown promise in the effort to treat patients with COVID-19 in a recent study.

Remdesivir, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, sped the recovery of COVID-19 patients in the new study, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

“What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert. “This will be the standard of care.”

The U.S. National Institutes of Health ran the study, and it involved 1,063 hospitalized coronavirus patients around the world. Remdesivir shortened recovery time by four days on average, from 15 to 11 days in the study and doctors saw a trend of fewer deaths among those on the drug, Fauci said. Reportedly, the data on deaths is not statistically significant.

The study has not been released, and it has not been peer reviewed at this time.

The U.S. government is working to make remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible, and the Food and Drug Administration is expected to provide emergency-use authorization for COVID-19 treatment. Currently, the FDA has not approved the drug for any purposes, making the approval very unusual.

“As part of the FDA’s commitment to expediting the development and availability of potential COVID-19 treatments, the agency has been engaged in sustained and ongoing discussions with Gilead Sciences regarding making remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible, as appropriate,” said Michael Felberbaum, an FDA spokesperson, to CNN.

An effective treatment could have a profound effect on the outbreak, as a vaccine is probably a year or more away.

Stocks surged around the world on the news, the AP reports, with the Dow Jones Industrial average climbing more than 550 points, or over 2%, Wednesday afternoon.

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