FOSTER CITY, Calif. - In the battle against ridding the body of the coronavirus, a line of defense is taking shape in the Foster City offices of Gilead Sciences.
The biopharmaceutical company’s drug Remdesivir, which a member of the White House coronavirus said has shown promising results in the treatment of people with people infected with COVID-19.
"What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus," said Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
In a major advancement in efforts to get ahead of the virus that’s claimed more than 60-thousand lives here in the United States, scientists said Wednesday that the experimental drug - intended as a treatment and not a vaccine - can speed the recovery of COVID-19 patients by four days.
The results were compared to patients given a placebo.
"If you give it early enough to a patient who’s infected you might actually start killing the virus so the virus doesn’t have the opportunity to cause a lot of damage," said Lee Riley, M.D., a Professor Epidemiology; Infectious Diseases at U.C. Berkeley
But a separate study in China posted negative results, which begs the question as to how researchers in both countries have garnered such differing results.
"I think the patients there were more severely ill. I think the drug was given perhaps at the later stage of the illness," Dr. Riley said.
But, we’re heard about drugs showing promise before such as hydroxychloroquine, which was touted by President Trump himself as a COVID-19 treatment.
Experts say the results of recent trials could not verify that hydroxychloroquine effectively treated those infected with the virus.
"The trials that they did show no efficacy, no difference between the placebo and the drug," said Dr. Riley.
The use of the drug to treat people with COVID-19 isn't without controversy. In addition to the negative results from China, Remdesivir has not yet been peer-reviewed to verify the results of the clinical trial.