Can new drug help speed up recovery from COVID-19?
It may not be a cure for COVID-19 but trials of the drug remdesivir have shown an acceleration in recovery time for severely ill patients.
Remdesivir is an antiviral medication developed initially by U.S. biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences to treat Ebola. It wasn't effective, but during animal testing it had shown promise treating SARS and MERS, both of which are coronaviruses. That research has now prompted human trials of COVID-19 patients.
Neera Ahuja, the principal investigator of the Remdesivir trial at Stanford University School of Medicine, explained how the drug worked.
"Remdesivir interjects itself into the RNA [Ribonucleic acid] of coronavirus and stops the virus from proliferating or expanding or breeding new viral RNA," essentially de-accelerating the virus from proliferation in the body.
Ahuja worked on a study that used more than 60 sites around the world, using participants with an average age of 58, which showed treatment shortened the course of the disease from 15 to 11 days.