A Promising Experimental COVID-19 Drug



Day 15 – Stay Home Order

Several national & local news organizations including The Washington Post reported to-day that Gilead’s experimental drug remdesivir shows hopeful signs in some covid-19 patients. Remdesivir was discovered by Gilead about a decade ago which was shown to work against an array of viruses in laboratory tests, writes the Post.

Remdesivir is an investigational nucleotide analog with broad-spectrum antiviral activity – it is not approved anywhere globally for any use. Remdesivir has demonstrated in vitro and in vivo activity in animal models against the viral pathogens MERS and SARS, which are also coronaviruses and are structurally similar to COVID-19.

About Remdesivir | Gilead

COVID-19 is an illness caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2. In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Jonathan Grein, research lead of Gilead Sciences, write that in their limited study the remdesivir has shown in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2 with clinical improvement in 36 of 53 patients (68%).

Compassionate Use

In the reported study was part of a “compassionate use” where patients received the antiviral drug remdesivir without a required control. Even then, ‘the improvements offered positive news about a drug seen by global health authorities as offering the best shot at becoming a treatment for the disease’ writes the Post.

Compassionate drug use (or sometimes just compassionate use) is the use of a new, unapproved drug to treat a seriously ill patient when no other treatments are available.

American Cancer Society

Quoting Jonathan D. Grein, Epidemiology director in a Los Angeles Hospital, the Post write “We cannot draw definitive conclusions from these data, but the observations from this group of hospitalized patients who received remdesivir are hopeful. We look forward to the results of controlled clinical trials to potentially validate these findings.”

For addition information: What is compassionate use of experimental drugs? | Mayo Clinic

Aggressive Testing

Many healthcare experts believe aggressive large scale testing & ‘contact tracing’ is required to contain the virus spread. Dr. Tom Frieden, Former Head of CDC is quoted saying: ‘in places where you’ve got the cases way down, or there are no cases, aggressive testing will be needed’. Tolbert Nyenswah, who led one of the most successful contact tracing efforts in Africa during the 2014 to 2016 Ebola epidemic is quoted:

You will never beat a virus like this one unless you get ahead of it. America must not just flatten the curve but get ahead of the curve.

Tolbert Nyenswah (source: The Washington Post)

Researchers from around the world are rushing to develop Fast, portable tests come online to curb coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

Coronavirus Watch

The MDH latest tally (as of April 11, 11 a.m.), the confirmed case in Minnesota is 1,427 (out of 35,404 tested) with 64 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins database (as of April 10, 4:50 a.m.) there are 501,615 confirmed covid19 infection with 18,777 deaths. Globally the covid19 virus has infected 1,709,014 with 103,536 deaths.