Trump Says FDA Emergency Approval of Remdesivir for COVID-19 Treatment Is Because it’s ‘The Hot Thing’ in the Media

Newsweek

President Donald Trump enthusiastically touted the antiviral drug which has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use in the treatment of the novel coronavirus, describing it as the “hot thing” in the media.

Remdesivir has been granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) following promising results in clinical trials in which almost a third of those who took the drug recovered more quickly than those given a placebo, although it did not significantly improve survival rates. Experts have warned that it is not a “magic bullet” cure.

In the White House on Friday, Trump was alongside Daniel O’Day, the chief executive of pharmaceutical company Gilead which is providing 1.5 million vials of the drug, enough to treat around 140,000 patients.

Trump said: “The company has been in the news, and it’s a great American company that’s done incredible work on HIV and hepatitis C,” adding, “what’s happening with hepatitis is the great—a great medical story.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 30, 2020. He announced the drug remdesivir would be used as a treatment for the coronavirus.
MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images

“I’m pleased to announce that Gilead now has an EUA from the FDA for remdesivir. And you know what, that is because that’s been the hot thing also in the papers and in the media for the last little while,” he said, describing it as “an important treatment for hospitalized coronavirus patients.”

Trump went on: “It’s really a very promising situation,” and praised Gilead for “making a contribution to… people that are not doing well, people that are sick, people that have this horrible plague that’s set into our country and that we’re getting rid of.

“We’re going to be having some really incredible results,” Trump added.

O’Day said at the meeting that the move to provide remdesivir “is the first step” in the treatment of COVID-19 and that the experience of treating other viruses has shown that “the way to actually even get better results is to add medicines on top of an antiviral.

A Gilead logo is displayed on a smartphone next to a screen showing a coronavirus graphic on March 25, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia.
OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty Images

“That was really how we were able to get HIV to a chronic illness—by a combination of therapies.

“There’s a lot of great companies out there that are working on this, that we’re collaborating with, my colleagues in the industry. And we’re all working together to do everything we can,” he added.

Also at the meeting was FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn who praised the speed of getting it from clinical trial to FDA authorization.

“This is an important clinical advance that showed a statistically significant reduction in time to recovery for patients with COVID-19. And it’s the first authorized therapy for COVID-19,” he said.

Remdesivir, which is given by intravenous infusion and was originally developed to treat Ebola, is described on Gilead’s website as a “nucleotide analog with broad-spectrum antiviral activity.”

It is able to interfere with the virus’s genome and can disrupt its ability to replicate.

However the company emphasized that the drug has not been approved anywhere globally for any use but has shown promising results against viral pathogens MERS and SARS, which are structurally similar to COVID-19.

“The limited preclinical data on remdesivir in MERS and SARS indicate that remdesivir may have potential activity against COVID-19,” the company said, describing it as “an experimental medicine that does not have established safety or efficacy for the treatment of any condition.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.Do not reuse single-use masks.Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.


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