"If you look at the time to recovery being shorter in the remdesivir arm, it was 11 days, compared to 15 days", Fauci said.
The drug also might be reducing deaths, although that's not certain from the partial results revealed so far. Gilead has pledged to donate 1.5 million doses of the drug, and the stockpile now on hand will be distributed to hospitals starting on Monday, according to Vice President Mike Pence.
"I'm pleased to announce that Gilead now has an EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for remdsevir". The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, which assesses effectiveness of drugs to determine appropriate prices, put the cost of producing a 10-day course of remdesivir at $10, but suggested that the price would rise to $4,500 based on patient benefits shown in clinical trials.
Doctors will not use the drug on people with covid-19 who are at recuperating at home, said Paul Goepfert, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a trial site investigator for the NIAID remdesivir study.
The drug maker, which reported second-quarter earnings on Thursday, said it would work with global partners to expand production of the potential Covid-19 treatment.
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Patients that only have low blood oxygen levels, need oxygen therapy, or need breathing support like a ventilator is said to be the priority patients to be given with the drug.
Remdesivir, an antiviral drug used to treat hepatitis and a common respiratory virus, appeared to join thousands of other failed medications after being proven useless against these diseases.
"But obviously they want to get this out to patients as quickly as possible".
During a meeting in the Oval Office with Mr Trump, Gilead chief executive Daniel O'Day called the move a significant step towards easing the coronavirus crisis. However, patients with symptom duration of 10 days or less who received remdesivir had a numerically faster time to clinical improvement than those who received a placebo.
"These are not all the possible side effects of remdesivir". While Gilead is hoping it will issue an emergency approval, the company also hopes to receive normal regulatory approval. Last month, the New England Journal of Medicine published data from 53 patients with severe disease, but that data set also lacked a control group.
Testing in the trial was composed of two patient groups with severe cases of COVID-19 - one group was given remdesivir and the other a placebo, a fluid that resembles remdesivir but does not offer any of its physiological benefits.
Gilead says it is now using up existing stocks of the drug, and the supply is limited.