President Donald Trump said the remdesivir drug has been given emergency use authorisation by the FDA to treat Coronavirus patients in the United States of America. Trump made the announcement yesterday during a televised address that was covered by CNBC.
What we know: The remdesivir drug is manufactured by American pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences. Data from the Coronavirus trial testing of the drug showed that patients who took it recovered within eleven days. This indicates a shortened recovery period, compared to other drugs that have been used to treat the virus.
More on the drug: Gilead Sciences’ Chief Executive Officer, Daniel O’Day, who was present during Trump’s live announcement, used the occasion “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”.
He also stated that the company will be donating 1.5 million vials of the intravenous drug.
In the meantime, the company’s stock initially reacted negatively to this development, having declined by 4.8% to $79.95 as at close of market trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Friday.
However, the stock reportedly went up by almost 2% during extended trading hours. Gilead Sciences’ valuation is a whopping $101 billion.
What you should know: The emergency use authorisation for remdesivir does not mean that the drug has been given express approval by America’s Food and Drug Administration, FDA. As a matter of fact, the drug has not undergone any thorough review that would then give it the appropriate approval to treat patients. However, doctors can use it to treat patients for now due to the emergency nature of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Researchers have, however, pointed out that remdesivir’s side effects could be as mild as nausea and vomiting, or as severe as liver damage.
Recall that this is not the first time President Trump has been too eager to present a drug as a cure for the deadly virus. Recall that in March, Trump announced that the FDA approved the malaria drug – Chloroquine – as a cure for COVID-19. The FDA later faulted this claim.