COVID-19: US Buys Up Massive Amount of Remdesivir

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The United States has purchased almost all the stocks of Remdesivir, this promising drug against Covid-19. In Europe, the drug has received the green light from the European Medicines Agency. But the European Commission still must agree.

On May 1, the American Medicines Agency (FDA) gave its “emergency” green light for the use of remdesivir in the context of the fight against the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus on its territory. This antiviral drug originally developed to treat patients with Ebola is produced by the Gilead laboratory. Two months later, the United States bought almost all the stocks of this promising drug, reports the British newspaper The Guardian. For the next 3 months, no other country will be able to obtain this drug, which helps patients recover more quickly from the coronavirus. The United States has bought more than 500,000 doses of the drug, the entire production of Gilead for July and 90% of August and September.

Recall that in Europe, remdesivir, obtained the green light from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday 25 June for a “conditional marketing” within the European Union for patients with Covid-19. Next step: approval (or not) from the European Commission.

Remdesivir is a “viral RNA polymerase inhibitor”, a drug that interferes with the production of viral genetic material to prevent the virus from multiplying. It has shown wide activity in vitro against various viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Remdesivir is also being tested for coronavirus treatment as part of the European Discovery clinical trial. This antiviral drug developed in 2015 by Gilead laboratories (and called GS-5734 in medical language) has already proven its effectiveness against two viruses of the family Coronaviridae: MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-1.

On April 29, 2020, after a large clinical trial conducted since February 2020 on 1063 patients in the United States, Europe and Asia, the American Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that “remdesivir has a clear, significant and positive effect to reduce recovery time “for patients with Covid-19.

In detail, the American researchers discovered that the recovery time of patients was shortened by 31% on average (or about 4 days) when treated with remdesivir. The death rate was about 3% lower.

The United States is paying a heavy price for the coronavirus epidemic that is raging on the planet today: it is unable to contain the epidemic. The latest report shows 1082 deaths in 24 hours, which brings the total to 112 833 deaths due to Covid-19.