Since scientists are busy trying to cure the novel pandemic by creating new vaccines as well as by exploiting the existing drugs, any news that illuminates the trivial benefits of any medicine, captivates the Big Brothers as well as the general audience.
This time, FDA has allowed the use of Remdisivir.
Back in 2017, a team of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, published a study with Gilead in the journal Science Translational Medicine about remdesivir and coronaviruses.
“This drug[remdesivir] was effective against multiple types of coronaviruses in cell culture[s] and in a mouse model of SARS and did not seem to be toxic,” the authors wrote in their paper. “Given its broad activity, this antiviral could be deployed to prevent spreading of a future coronavirus outbreak, regardless of the specific virus that jumps over.”
It is a pro-drug, converted in the body into GS-441524, a ribonucleotide analog. As of 2020, remdesivir is being tested as a specific treatment for COVID-19, and has been issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the U.S. for those hospitalized with severe disease. It may shorten the time it takes to recover from the infection. Treatment is given by injection into a vein.
Earlier studies found antiviral activity against several RNA viruses including SARS coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, but it is not approved for any indication. Remdesivir was originally developed to treat Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease but was ineffective for these viral infections.
Until last weekend, treatment for COVID-19 was primarily experimental. In hundreds of clinical trials across the globe, researchers are testing new drugs, as well as those that scientists created for other purposes, to stem the death toll the world is facing.
According to Medical News Today, On March 28, 2020, the FDA gave permission to doctors to use hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products for the treatment of COVID-19 in adolescents and adults in situations where clinical trials were not an option.
Despite the hype around these drugs, the FDA followed up with an announcement on April 24, 2020, to highlight that they were investigating reports that some people had developed serious heart rhythm problems in response to the drugs.
“Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19. They are being studied in clinical trials for COVID-19, and we authorized their temporary use during the COVID-19 pandemic for treatment of the virus in hospitalized patients when clinical trials are not available, or participation is not feasible, through an [EUA],” the FDA statement reads.
Much attention has since focused on a drug called remdesivir. Consequently, Food and Drug Administration granted Emergency Use Authorization.