An experimental drug has proved effective against the new coronavirus in a major study, shortening the time it takes for patients to recover, U.S. government and company officials announced Wednesday. The median recovery time for patients who were taking the antiviral medication remdesivir was 11 days, compared with 15 days for those who received a placebo.
The drug, from Gilead Sciences, is the first treatment to pass such a strict 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 1,063 hospitalized coronavirus patients around the world. At the White House, NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci said the drug reduced the time it takes patients to recover by 31% — 11 days on average versus 15 days for those just given usual care.