The Food and Drug Administration has approved a first COVID-19 treatment - but the race continues for a confident cure that has significant benefits.
Food And Drug Administration Approves Remdesivir
On Thursday, Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved the drug to be used for COVID-19 treatment.
Since May, remdesivir has been used through an emergency use authorization and, while it has shown some benefits for coronavirus patients, there was not much found in studies about the drug's benefits in actual patient survival or mortality.
Former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Rick Bright, said that data on the drug showed "that the benefit was modest." He added that it "wasn't a remarkable improvement."
Bright said "it did show some marginal benefit."
A study by Gilead published in the New England Journal of Medicine said remdesivir "shortened the course of illness from an average of 15 days to about 11 days in hospitalized patients."
Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said the approval of the drug - sold under the brand name Veklury - was an "important scientific milestone." It has been through multiple clinical trials and was assessed thoroughly by the agency, he said.
World Health Organization Comments On Remdesivir
Last week, the World Health Organization said in its study of remdesivir that the drug had a small effect on COVID-19 patients.
In the World Health Organization's study, four drugs were placed in clinical trials - including the Gilead Sciences drug. The results have yet to be peer-reviewed but the data suggested none of the four drugs had a significant effect on preventing mortality or reducing hospital stay time for coronavirus-infected patients.
The World Health Organization has yet to comment on the Food and Drug Administration's official approval of Veklury for the treatment of novel coronavirus patients.
About Remdesivir's Developer
In its official statement about the historical approval of remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment, Gilead Sciences said the drug should be administered only "in a hospital or in a health care setting" that has the capacity to provide "acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care."
Based in California, Gilead Sciences was established in 1987. The pharmaceutical primarily develops antiviral drugs. Before being a qualifier for COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir was recognized as a potential treatment against Ebola.
World Health Organization's Solidarity Trial
The World Health Organization's Solidarity Trial is an international trial that seeks to determine which drugs or treatments are effective against the virus.
After the trials remdesivir, lopinavir/ritonavir, interferon and hydroxychloroquine came out with less than stellar results. The World Health Organization said it would continue to evaluate other potential COVID-19 treatments.
The Solidarity Trial's studies said corticosteroids were the only drugs proven to have a significant effect on patients with severe and critical symptoms.