Daily Management Review

Unapproved Drug For Coronavirus Treatment And Testing Given By Gilead Sciences


Unapproved Drug For Coronavirus Treatment And Testing Given By Gilead Sciences
Doctors dealing with treating patients of the new coronavirus have been provided with an experimental antiviral drug for emergency treatment by Gilead Sciences Inc., the organizations said on Friday.
The Foster City, California based Gilead also wants to undertake a clinical trial of the drug remdesivir with patients who have been infected with the virus and an agreement with the Chinese authorities has been finalized, the company said.
There is a lack of any approved drug or vaccine for the newly found coronavirus and hence health authorities are in the search of a treatment for the people in China and elsewhere infected by coronavirus.
There is interest among researchers to observe whether the remdesivir and other antiviral drugs of Gilead have any positive impact on the reduction or treatment of the disease caused by the virus.
Medicine regulators in the United States or in other countries have not given approval for the use of Gilead’s drug for humans unlike some of the other antivirals that are being tested out against coronavirus. Often when there is an emergency situation when healthcare authorities feel that people infected or suffering do not have a potential access to drugs that can provide good treatment and when they believe that a drug, which has not been approved for human use, can be of help, such drugs are put to use as a test case.
In a separate development, a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday claimed that the drug was administered to an infected patient in Washington State. That 35 year old man was the first case of coronavirus infection confirmed in the United States. The man had traveled to Wuhan in China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and had returned back to the US showing symptoms of the disease.
According to the report, there was an improvement in the clinical condition of the patient after he was administered remdesivir on the seventh day of his hospitalization on January 26. The researchers wrote in the report that the patient was still hospitalized as of January 30, but “all symptoms have resolved with the exception of his cough, which is decreasing in severity.”
“Before treatment he had high fevers and was getting sicker,” George Diaz, the patient’s attending physician at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, said in an interview on Friday. “After treatment, he had reduced fevers and no longer required oxygen. His lungs cleared up, and he generally felt better.”
However in order to ascertain that the drug can be an effective treatment for the coronavirus, it has to be studied in large clinical trials, Dr. Diaz cautioned.
No information about the number of patients infected by coronavirus being administered the drug or their location was provided by Gilead.
Compared to rival treatments, the drug was less effective in clinical trials of Ebola patients. The drug however was able to lessen lung disease in mice infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome which is a coronavirus known as MERS when it was tested among animals.