Gilead Sciences Inc revealed on Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the approval to Remdesivir as the first official treatment for COVID-19 in the United States.
Per the announcement, Remdesivir which is sold under the tradename Veklury can now be used for the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients above the age of 12 and under the right hospital care setting, and on account that it reduces the recovery period of hospitalization among victims.
The coronavirus disease since it was discovered about a year ago has had no FDA approved treatment thus far with the disease infecting over 41.6 million people worldwide and 8.46 million in America and over 223k deaths recorded in the U.S. alone. This makes the treatment status given to Gilead’s own Remdesivir to be highly significant and further credence is given to the FDA stance as the drug was part of the treatment regime President Donald Trump was placed on when he contracted the virus a few weeks back.
Gilead Sciences CEO and Chairman Daniel O’Day noted in a statement:
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilead has worked relentlessly to help find solutions to this global health crisis. It is incredible to be in the position today, less than one year since the earliest case reports of the disease now known as COVID-19, of having an FDA-approved treatment in the U.S. that is available for all appropriate patients in need.”
The treatment of COVID-19 patients with Remdesivir takes a period of 5 days and the complete treatment regime costs $2,340 for Americans under some form of government health support programs while those without this support would have to pay $3,120 for the same treatment. Closing 0.76% higher on Thursday at $60.67 per share, Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: GILD) stock rose by 7.10% in the after-hours trading.
Remdesivir Granted EUA Approval in the Treatment of Children Under Age 12
According to the company, the FDA has also taken a little step of faith in Remdesivir by granting it an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for hospitalized pediatric patients under the age of 12. It also noted that this age range is also based on the weight of the patient which is in the 3.5Kg to 40Kg range and whom intravenous treatment is clinically suitable for.
Since Remdesivir was granted a similar EUA back in May, it has ramped up its production as demand for the drug has risen considerably. With the drug currently administered intravenously, the company said as reported by CNBC that it is now working on producing an inhaled version of the drug for which administration through a device called a Nebulizer is possible.
The FDA approval of Remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19 defies the World Health Organization’s recent report stating that the drug is not potent in reducing the death rate in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Gilead aims to meet global demand for the drug in this last quarter of the year.
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