UPDATE : Friday, June 5, 2020
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‘Gilead’s drug candidate effective to fight new coronavirus’
  • By Kim Yun-mi
  • Published 2020.02.04 16:39
  • Updated 2020.02.05 12:43
  • comments 0

Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug candidate, remdesivir, showed efficacy in treating the first confirmed patient of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the U.S., a medical report said.

The company said it would work with the Chinese health authorities to conduct a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate remdesivir’s safety and efficacy to treat the new coronavirus infection.

On Friday, the Washington State 2019-nCoV Case Investigation Team published a report on the first U.S. case of the new coronavirus in an international journal, New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the investigation team, a 35-year-old man visited an urgent care clinic in the state of Washington on Jan. 19. He had coughs and a sense of fever for four days after coming back from a visit to family in Wuhan, China.

The examination results showed his body temperature, blood pressure, respiration, oxygen saturation, and chest radiographs were normal. He tested negative in influenza A and B. Given his travel history, however, the clinic immediately reported him to the Health Department of Washington State.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took the patient’s specimens to check the new coronavirus and sent him back home. On Jan. 20, the CDC confirmed that the patient was infected with the 2019-nCoV and quarantined him in a medical center in Washington for clinical observation.

On admission, the patient reported persistent cough and nausea and vomiting for two days. From the second to the fifth day after admission, the patient’s vital signs remained stable, despite intermittent fevers accompanied by tachycardia (heart beats more than 100 times per minute).

Five days after the hospitalization, the patient showed pneumonia evidence in the left lung, which coincided with the fall of the level of oxygen saturation.

On the sixth day, the patient was diagnosed with atypical pneumonia, and the clinician decided to administer an investigational antiviral therapy.

On the evening of the seventh day, the patient started receiving remdesivir, which Gilead was developing as a treatment for the Ebola virus.

The following day, the patient showed clinical improvement, and the oxygen saturation rose back to 94-96 percent. The physician discontinued oxygen treatment, and the chest radiography results were normal. Aside from intermittent cough and rhinitis symptoms, the patient had no other symptoms.

As of last Thursday, the patient remained hospitalized, the investigation team said in the report. “All symptoms have resolved except for his cough, which is decreasing in severity,” the report said.

On the same day, Gilead released a statement regarding remdesivir’s therapeutic effect.

“Gilead is working closely with global health authorities to respond to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak through the appropriate experimental use of our investigational compound remdesivir,” said Merdad Parsey, chief medical officer at Gilead Sciences, in a statement.

There is no clinical data showing remdesivir’s activity against the 2019-nCoV. However, the experimental drug demonstrated both in-vitro and in-vivo activity against the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) coronaviruses, which are similar to the new coronavirus, Parsey said.

“There are also limited clinical data available from the emergency use of remdesivir in the treatment of patients with Ebola virus infection,” he added.


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