Health: FDA Approves Gilead’s Remdesivir

The Story:

Remdesivir, an antiviral produced by California company Gilead Sciences, last week became the first drug ever to receive Food and Drug Administration approval for use as a therapy in cases of severe Covid-19 infection. A study by the National Institutes of Health has indicated that Remdesivir reduces the average time for recovery from 15 to 10 days in hospitalized patients.

Significance:

“Remdesivir” is the international non-proprietary name for the product, which also bears the Gilead brand name Veklury.

The drug — which was first developed in connection with an Ebola outbreak — has received intense public attention since it was used to treat President Donald Trump during his own hospitalization with Covid-19 in the first week of October.

There continue to be controversies over this drug. The World Health Organization recently said that it has “little or no effect” compared to placebos. But the research on which the WHO warning is said to have been based has not yet been published in a peer reviewed journal.

In Pill Form:

Remdesivir looks to be a valuable therapeutic but is neither a vaccine nor a cure. When, someday, historians are writing about the pandemic as an event in the world’s rear view mirror, the significance of Remdesivir will be that it created a yardstick for the effectiveness of therapies, and that subsequent innovations were expected to exceed that yardstick.

 

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