A US biotechnology companyGilead Sciences has formalized an agreement with China to conduct clinical trials on Remdesivir.
Gilead Sciences said Friday that he had provided doses of Remdesivir. It is an experimental antiviral drug. The company delivered doses to doctors for the emergency treatment of a small number of patients infected with the new coronavirus.
Gilead, a company based in Foster City, California, has also formalized an agreement with the Chinese authorities to conduct a clinical trial of the Remdesivir drug in patients with coronavirus infection.
More news about the Coronavirus
Health authorities seek treatment for Chinese coronavirus infections. There are currently no specific drugs or vaccines for prevention or cure. Several drug manufacturers have said they are working on developing a vaccine, which could still prevent, but not cure, infections.
The researchers hope to understand whether Gilead's experimental drug Remdesivir and other antivirals can work as treatments.
It is not authorized for use on humans, but ...
Unlike other antivirals currently under investigation, Gilead's investigational drug is not approved for use in humans. Neither by the American health authorities nor by the international ones.
Sometimes unapproved drugs are used or tested in emergency situations. Those where health authorities believe the drug can help patients who don't have other treatments.
Remdesivir, the experimental treatments
The researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday that they administered the drug to the first American patient found to be infected in Washington state. The man, 35, had traveled to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began. After returning to the United States, he was the first person in the country to test positive for the Chinese coronavirus.
The patient was given Remdesivir on the seventh day of his hospitalization, January 26th. The following day his clinical condition improved, and he didn't need a respirator. To date, the patient remains hospitalized, but on the mend. "All the symptoms have resolved except for his cough, which however is decreasing", the researchers wrote.
“The patient had a fever of 39,4 degrees the day we treated him with the Gilead drug. The following day the fever dropped to 37,3 degrees and then progressed normally, " says the doctor George Diaz, patient's attending physician at the Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
Dr Diaz warned, however, that the drug needs to be studied in large clinical trials to determine if it is an effective treatment for coronavirus.
A spokeswoman for Gilead Sciences declined to say how many patients are receiving the drug or where they are.
In clinical trials of Ebola patients, the drug was less effective than rival treatments. In animal studies, the drug helped reduce lung disease in mice infected with MERS, Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome. It's another coronavirus.