The US government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that a new COVID-19 drug has proven to be quite a 'good news' in clinical trials.
Dr. Fauci noted that the early tests of the therapy have shown that it has a clear cut positive effect on the novel coronavirus, but the results still have to be peer-reviewed by experts.
Anti-viral drug from Gilead Sciences
During a recent White House meeting with President Donald Trump, Dr. Fauci claimed that the anti-viral drug remdesivir developed by biotech company Gilead Sciences has worked effectively in fighting off and blocking the virus.
He emphasized that the therapy helped COVID-19 patients recover more quickly than standard care in the trial conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Therapy resulted in 11-day recovery
Detailing the work, Dr. Fauci claimed that NIAID enrolled more than 1,000 patients around the world to test the effectiveness of the experimental drug against supportive care with a placebo.
In that test, the scientists observed, the patients who got the experimental drug were able to recover in an average 11 days, whereas all those on supportive care took about 15 days to recover.
"This is highly significant"
Dr. Fauci said even though the improvement in recovery time is not a knockout 100%, the results are highly significant.
"It is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus," he said, further noting that the mortality rate was also lower in the group administered with the remdesivir drug.
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This will lead to better treatment
Dr. Fauci implied the experimental drug will be the foundation for better COVID-19 drugs of the same type. "This drug happens to be blocking an enzyme that the virus uses," he said, confirming that this will be the standard of care for the treatment.
Results have to be peer-reviewed
Dr. Fauci said the study is yet to be peer-reviewed with more data analysis but it was their obligation to let the public know about the development.
"Whenever you have clear cut evidence that a drug works, you have an ethical obligation to immediately let people in the placebo group and others carrying out trials know about the new standard of care," he added.
Emergency use authorization possible from FDA
Currently, remdesivir is not licensed or approved anywhere globally, but given Dr. Fauci's comments, we expect that the US Food and Drug Administration might grant emergency use authorization to Gilead to bring the medicine into use as quickly as possible.