- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized a drug from Gilead Sciences for emergency use in coronavirus patients, President Trump said Friday.

Mr. Trump announced the decision during a White House meeting with Gilead CEO Dan O’Day.

The decision, which allows the drug to come to market without a full review, comes days after government scientists said the antiviral — remdesivir — sped up the recovery time of patients in a study by the National Institutes of Health.

Also, there was a slightly lower mortality rate in the group receiving the drug versus the placebo group.

Anthony Fauci, who leads infectious-disease research at NIH, said the treatment isn’t a slam dunk — more research is needed — but its ability to block the virus is significant.

The administration is desperate to find an effective drug therapy for COVID-19, which has infected over 1 million in the U.S. and killed over 60,000.

Mr. Trump said remdesivir has “been the hot thing” in the media and is an “important treatment for hospitalized coronavirus patients.”

Deborah Birx, the U.S. coronavirus coordinator, said it was remarkable to see progress on a treatment for a new disease in less than 90 days.

“I think this really illustrates what can happen in such a short time,” she said.

Gilead developed remdesivir earlier this decade as a possible treatment for Ebola, though it showed mixed results.

It was directed toward COVID-19 after scientists realized it might be effective against coronaviruses.

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