Gilead Sciences antiviral drug remdesivir has shown promise in treating patients suffering from COVID-19, and the company’s chief executive says it will be in the hands of doctors and patients as early as this week.
Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, CEO Daniel O’Day said Gilead donated 1.5 million vials to the U.S. government - enough to treat 150,000 to 200,000 patients.
(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) GILEAD SCIENCES CEO DANIEL O'DAY SAYING:
"We are now firmly focused on getting this medicine to the- the most urgent patients around the country here in the United States. And, Margaret, 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- and where the patients are that need this medicine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week granted authorization for the emergency use of remdesivir to treat patients with severe COVID-19, following preliminary results from a study conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which found that patients given remdesivir recovered 31% faster than those given a placebo.
While the data will need more analysis to know just how well the drug might work and for which patients, it was hailed Dr. Anthony Fauci - the United States' top infectious disease specialist - as highly significant since it clearly had an effect on the disease for which there are currently no approved treatments or vaccines.