The first breakthrough for a potential medicine against the Coronavirus is coming from the use of a drug called Remdesiver for COVID-19. The California-based pharma company, Gilead Sciences has said that the preliminary results showed that 50 per cent of the COVID-19 patients treated with a 5-day dosage of Remdesivir improved. Behind this ‘significant’ development, is an Indian-American doctor, Dr Aruna Subramanian who is the Clinical Professor, Medicine-Infectious Diseases at Stanford Healthcare.
Remdesivir has reportedly cut the duration of symptoms from 15 days down to 11 in clinical trial at hospitals around the world. Dr Subramanian was a lead investigator in this study. Based out of Palo Alto in California, she is an infectious disease specialist, she has been in practice for more than 20 years.
“These data are encouraging as they indicate that patients who received a shorter, 5-day course of Remdesivir experienced similar clinical improvement as patients who received a 10-day treatment course,” said Aruna Subramanian in an interview
The study sought to determine whether a shorter, five-day course of Remdesivir would achieve similar efficacy results as the 10-day treatment regimen used in multiple ongoing studies of Remdesivir, the pharma company said. “While additional data are still needed, these results help to bring a clearer understanding of how treatment with Remdesivir may be optimised, if proven safe and effective,” Subramanian noted.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the use of investigational anti-viral Remdesivir in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The FDA authorisation came after researches, including one led by Indian-American physician Aruna Subramanian, reported Remdesivir shortened the recovery times in people who have fallen ill from the new coronavirus.
“I’m pleased to announce that Gilead now has an EUA (emergency use authorisation) from the FDA for Remdesivir,” US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday.
Trump said that EUA is an important treatment for hospitalised coronavirus patients.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that this is a significant step forward in battling COVID-19.
The EUA allows for Remdesivir to be distributed in the US and administered intravenously by health care providers, as appropriate, to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalised with severe condition.
By Friday, over 63,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus and over one million have tested positive with COVID-19.
Trump said that his administration has been doing work with the teams at the FDA, National Institute of Health and Gilead for spearheading this public-private partnership to make this happen very quickly.
“I think this really illustrates what can happen in such a short time. For the first case, that was diagnosed in the United States to now, our first step forward with a therapeutic in less than 90 days,” said Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Task Force on Coronavirus.
In a statement, Gilead said that the EUA will facilitate broader use of Remdesivir to treat hospitalised patients with severe COVID-19 disease, enabling access to the vaccine at additional hospitals across the country.
Remdesivir is authorised for the treatment of hospitalised patients with severe COVID-19 disease, it said, adding that the optimal duration of treatment is still being studied in ongoing clinical trials.