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Remdesivir: What we know about the potential coronavirus treatment


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“A drug being developed to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by new coronavirus, is reportedly showing some promise but there’s no guarantee initial reports will lead to a commercially available treatment. Experts have been racing to find a treatment for the illness that’s killed more than 60,000 Americans and sickened more than 1 million.

“The experimental drug remdesivir has emerged as the first possible scientifically proven treatment. Early data from a global study released Wednesday found patients given remdesivir recovered faster and may be less likely to die. However, another study published the same day in the British medical journal The Lancet found no clinical benefits to the drug.

“Here’s what we know about the drug: What is remdesivir? Remdesivir is an experimental antiviral drug from the American biotech firm Gilead Sciences. It was originally tested as a treatment for Ebola and other coronaviruses including SARS and is now being tested as a possible COVID-19 treatment.

“The drug impairs the ability of the virus to replicate, … “You’re decreasing the degree of infection so the immune system can fight. It’s like taking fuel away from the fire,” he said.Dr. Aneesh Mehta, lead investigator for the portion of the remdesivir trial at Emory University in Atlanta, stressed the drug and other antivirals are not “silver bullets” that immediately get rid of an infection and the damage doesn’t just “all go away” when the virus is gone.