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The Federal Drug Administration is moving toward emergency approval of remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 following positive results in patients, according to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci and Gilead, the maker of remdesivir.
A federal trial conducted by Gilead on 1,063 COVID-19 patients found that those receiving remdesivir recovered in 11 days on average, while those given a placebo took 15 days. Remdesivir is an antiviral medication that's been used as treatment for Ebola.
There is currently no approved treatment for COVID-19, which has infected millions and killed more than 60,000 Americans as of Wednesday. More peer reviews will need to be conducted on remdesivir's efficacy, but Fauci sounded cautiously optimistic on the drug's potential, saying it could eventually be the "standard of care" for COVID-19.
"It is a very important proof of concept, because what it has proved is that a drug can block this virus," Dr. Fauci said, according to The New York Times. "This is very optimistic."
Fauci and President Trump discussed the positive findings of remdesivir at a White House press conference on Wednesday. The public discussion of the drug at such an early stage did not sit well with everyone.
"This is too important to be handled in such a sloppy fashion," Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told the Times.