The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for Gilead Sciences remdesivir drug to treat the coronavirus, President Donald Trump announced Friday. Trump made the announcement in the Oval Office alongside Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day.
“We want to thank the collaborators that brought remdesivir to this point and many of our people that have been part of this, in fact, the caregivers,” O’Day told reporters. He added that the company is donating one million vials of remdesivir.
Earlier in the week, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said data from a coronavirus drug trial testing Gilead’s drug showed “quite good news” and sets a new standard of care for Covid-19 patients.
The study showing that the experimental drug remdesivir might help Covid-19 patients recover more quickly is positively good news. But beyond the initial optimism, the study also made clear that remdesivir is far from a cure for Covid-19.
The government-funded study found that patients who took remdesivir recovered faster than patients who did not. It improved recovery time for coronavirus patients from 15 to 11 days. That’s similar to the effect that the influenza drug Tamiflu has on flu. Tamiflu also doesn’t cure patients quickly, but can reduce how long they are sick.
The study also showed that 8% of patients who took remdesivir died compared to 11% of patients who received the placebo. However, there were not enough deaths to make those numbers statistically significant.