Pakistan drug firm to import potential COVID-19 treatment from Bangladesh

Remdesivir coronavirus drug

The global push to develop coronavirus treatments and vaccines is speeding up as governments search for ways to ease lockdowns safely and resume financial activities to restart economies.

Financed by remdesivir's maker, Gilead Sciences, the study included about 400 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized but not on a ventilator in 55 hospitals around the world, including the Brigham in Boston and Miriam Hospital in Providence. Data from the REMDACTA trial are created to supplement the COVACTA study. Baricitinib is already FDA-approved in the US and more than 65 other countries as a treatment for adults with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis.

The next step, he said, is to show whether remdesivir is effective earlier in the disease process.

Doctors may be able to treat twice as many patients as previously thought with the only medication shown to affect the progress of COVID-19, according to an global study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Remdesivir, which previously failed in trials against Ebola, is being touted as helping to improve outcomes against the COVID-19 illness.

"Shorter is better", said Dr. Francisco Marty, an infectious diseases physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and one of the study's authors.

The study is double-blind, which means neither researchers nor patients know who receives baricitinib and who does not.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to grant the drug emergency-use authorization in the next few days, and Gilead has already been in "sustained and ongoing" talks with the FDA about making the drug available to patients once approval is granted.

"We do have a supply here at Hershey", Paules said.

Baricitinib, like any drug, has side effects that could be worrisome.

Roche Holding AG and Gilead Sciences Inc. are initiating a late-stage trial of a two-drug combination in hopes of creating a new weapon in the battle against COVID-19. Serious side effects include short-term elevation in liver function tasks.

"The good news is that when remdesivir is halted those liver function tests typically go back to normal", she said.

Baricitinib has an extensive history of safety data.

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