Boots & Sabers

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1505, 29 Apr 20

Potential COVID Treatment Found in Remdesivir

Excellent news!

Scientists on Wednesday announced the first effective treatment against the coronavirus — an experimental drug that can speed the recovery of COVID-19 patients — in a major medical advance that came as the economic gloom caused by the scourge deepened in the U.S. and Europe.

The U.S. government said it is working to make the antiviral medication remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible. Stocks surged around the world on the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial average climbing more than 550 points, or over 2%, in the afternoon.

“What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert. “This will be the standard of care.”

It looks like it would take some ingenuity to ramp up production if this proves to be effective on a wide scale.

And when it comes to remdesivir, experts say Gilead might not have been inclined, or even had the time, to make the process as efficient as it could be. Gilead developed the compound during the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and sped it along with the goal of testing it before the outbreak waned. The process likely reflects the anticipated demand for an Ebola treatment: the 2014 Ebola outbreak saw 29,000 cases over 2.5 years; the current coronavirus pandemic is approaching 2.5 million cases in under 5 months.

As the scope of the pandemic widens, Gilead has been open about the challenges of manufacturing the drug. The firm says it typically takes 9 to 12 months to make an antiviral like remdesivir, but that since January it has shrunk the timeline to 6 to 8 months. “We continue to work on optimizing the chemical synthesis processes,” the company states.

In a public communication in early April, CEO Daniel O’Day outlined a series of measures Gilead was taking to increase access to remdesivir. At the time, the company said it had on hand enough active ingredient to create about 1.5 million doses, enough for roughly 140,000 treatment courses, based on a 10-day regimen. The company has been working to increase both internal capacity and external partnerships to generate an additional 500,000 courses by October, 1 million courses by the end of the year, and, if needed, several million courses in 2021.


1505, 29 April 2020


  1. MjM

    Whaaa….? They’ve been using this without FDA approval?!? Better not tell Nort. He’ll go ape sheet.

  2. Jason

    >Better not tell Nort. He’ll go ape sheet.

    Nah, Granpa Leroy will be as hypocritical with this as everything else.

  3. Le Roi du Nord

    Too bad you guys can’t or won’t read:

    “Gilead has initiated two Phase 3 clinical studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of remdesivir in adults diagnosed with COVID-19 following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rapid review and acceptance of Gilead’s investigational new drug (IND) filing.”

  4. Mar

    Ok, Le Roi, so what?
    It is possible that some drugs will help at at certain times of the infection.
    Some might help in early stages, other drugs help better in the middle stages of the illness and other drugs help better than others when the patient is on a ventilator.
    But keep on cheering on those deaths, Le Roi.

  5. MjM

    Nazi Nort wrong yet again:  Too bad you guys can’t or won’t read

    Your unabashed hypocrisy continues.  Too bad you can’t comprehend.

    The FDA “review” is not “approval” for use.  The FDA has not yet even approved remdesivir for emergency use for CCPvirus (but will probably today)

    You know, like it has “hydrochloroquine”

  6. Le Roi du Nord

    Correct mjm, it isn’t or wasn’t approved. But it had far more scrutiny from knowledgeable folks than did disinfectant injections or the initial hydroxychloroquine fiasco.

  7. Mike

    There appears to be some other evolving treatment also.

    A group of critical care physicians representing the University of Tennessee, the University of Wisconsin, Eastern Virginia Medical School, the University of Texas and a number of other institutions have formed the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Consortium and released a bulletin setting out a recommended treatment protocol. The protocol is based largely on the fact that it is not the virus, but the body’s reaction to the virus, that kills patients:

    It is our collective opinion that the historically high levels of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 is due to a single factor: the widespread and inappropriate reluctance amongst intensivists to employ anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant treatments, including corticosteroid therapy early in the course of a patient’s hospitalization.

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