After the data about the effectiveness of remdesivir was issued, the World Health Organisation (WHO), on Monday said that it would talk to the US government and the drugmaker, Gilead Sciences, on how the remdesivir could be made widely available to treat COVID 19.
"We are grateful that the company Gilead and the director-general had direct discussions at the highest level to ensure that we had access to the remdesivir drug in order to launch the solidarity trials around the world," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies program, said.
Remesivir to be available for treating COVID-19 from next week
Antiviral drug remdesivir, that has shown benefit in treating coronavirus patients, would now be available for the patients from next week, Daniel O'Day, CEO of Gilead Sciences, the biotechnology company that makes the drug, said on Sunday.
In an interview to an American news channel, Daniel O'Day told that now doctors across the US can use the coronavirus fighting drug in treating COVID-19 patients.
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"We intend to get that to patients in the early part of this next week, beginning to work with the government which will determine which cities are most vulnerable and where the patients are that need this medicine," O'Day said on CBS' "Face of the Nation".
Company to donate an entire supply of remdesivir
The company has decided to donate the entire supply to reduce "human suffering" and to make sure nothing gets in the way of the drug getting to the patients.
"We've donated the entire supply that we have within our supply chain and we did that because we acknowledge and recognize the human suffering, the human need here, and want to make sure nothing gets in the way of this getting to patients," O'Day added.
Two clinical trials showed an effective result
This comes after the company released preliminary results from its clinical trial of the drug remdesivir in treatment of coronavirus patients last week. The result showed that 50% of the patients who were given the drug for treatment improved after a five-days dosage. The study involved 397 patients with severe COVID-19 infection.
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also published the results from its study on the efficacy of the drug Wednesday. It showed that COVID-19 patients who took the drug remdesivir usually recovered in 11 days, five days sooner than those who didn't take the drug.
FDA allowed emergency use authorisation
Following the successful trials, the FDA on Friday gave emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
EUS implies that the drug has not undergone the same review as FDA-approved treatments, but due to its positive results from two globally held clinical trials, the drug can be used for treating hospitalised patients with severe COVID-19.
Under the FDA's EUA rule, five-days and ten-days dosage of the drug have been suggested for the treatment. The doctors would administer the drug depending on the severity of the infection.
Donald Trump touted remdesivir
Remdesivir, touted by President Donald Trump as a potential treatment against coronavirus, has not been formally approved to treat COVID-19. The US health officials say the new data need to be peer revied.
Even though the drug has been approved for emergency use, several clinical trials are ongoing to test if it is effective against the coronavirus. Last week, Trump had said that he wanted the FDA to move" as quickly as they can" to approve the drug.
The company CEO informed that all of the drug supply will go to the government to allocate around the nation.
"What we will do is provide that donation to the U.S. government and they will determine — based upon things like ICU beds, where the course of the epidemic is in the United States — they will begin shipping tens of thousands of treatment courses out early this week and be adjusting that as the epidemic shifts and evolves in different parts, in different cities in the United States," O'Day added.
Gilead says it will produce million rounds of remdesivir
On Thursday, Gilead Sciences said that the company expects to produce more than 140,000 rounds of its 10-day treatment regimen by the end of May and anticipates to make 1 millions round of remdesivir by the year-end. The biotechnology company also said that it plans to produce "several million" rounds of its antiviral drug next year to help patients fight the coronavirus.