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Drug proves effective against virus as worldwide COVID-19 cases rise to 3.2M

Scientists on Wednesday announced the first effective treatment against the coronavirus — an experimental drug that can speed the recovery of COVID-19 patients — in a major medical advance.

News 12 Staff

Apr 30, 2020, 12:57 AM

Updated 1,514 days ago

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(AP) - Scientists on Wednesday announced the first effective treatment against the coronavirus — an experimental drug that can speed the recovery of COVID-19 patients — in a major medical advance.
The U.S. government said it is working to make the antiviral medication remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible.
"What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert. "This will be the standard of care."
Confirmed infections globally reached about 3.2 million, including 1 million in the U.S., according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers of deaths and infections are believed to be much higher because of limited testing, differences in counting the dead and concealment by some governments.
California-based biotech company Gilead Sciences and the U.S. government reported that in a major study, remdesivir shortened the time it takes for COVID-19 patients to recover by four days on average — from 15 days to 11. Also, a trend toward fewer deaths was seen among those on the drug, Fauci said.
The study was run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and involved 1,063 hospitalized coronavirus patients around the world.
An effective treatment could have a profound effect on the outbreak, since a vaccine is probably a year or more away.
Remdesivir was first introduced by Gilead back in 2002 as a potential treatment for the SARS virus. Doctors say it didn't work and has been sitting on the shelf since then.
At this point, the FDA has not approved any drugs for the treatment of the coronavirus, but the agency could announce an emergency use authorization for the drug to make it available to patients as quickly as possible.
 


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