Experimental drug proven effective against coronavirus, biotech company says

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A biotech company said Wednesday its experimental drug has proved effective against the new coronavirus in a major U.S. government study that put it to a strict test.

Gilead Sciences’s remdesivir would be the first treatment to pass such a test against the virus, which has killed more than 218,000 people since it emerged late last year in China. Having a treatment could have a profound effect on the global pandemic, especially because health officials say any vaccine is likely a year or more away.

The study, run by the National Institutes of Health, tested remdesivir versus usual care in about 800 hospitalized coronavirus patients around the world. The main result is how long it takes patients to recover.

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California-based Gilead gave no details on results Wednesday, but said an announcement is expected soon. NIH officials did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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A statement from the Food and Drug Administration says only that the agency has been talking with Gilead “regarding making remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible, as appropriate.”

Remdesivir is among many treatments being tested against the coronavirus but was the farthest along in study.

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