Will the Drug Remdesivir Be the Hope to Patients with COVID-19?

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On the evening of Feb 6, Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital opened a clinical trial, in which a 68-year-old male patient became the first participant to test the drug remdesivir.



Before the clinical trial, researchers had published positive results of Gilead’s remdesivir in vitro cells experiments. China’s National Medical Products Administration approved applications by the China-Japan Friendship Hospital and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences to conduct trials evaluating remdesivir.


The drug was used as compassionate drug in a coronavirus patient in the US before this clinical trial in China. Compassionate drug use is the use of a new, unapproved drug to treat a seriously ill patient when no other treatments are available.


A 35-year-old man who returned to Washington from Wuhan showed positive results in the new coronavirus test. Although initially no serious symptoms shown, the patient’s condition deteriorated continuously, and was seriously ill on the 6th day.


Picture from New York Times


On the 7th day of his treatment, doctors tried remdesivir on him. And from the next day, his condition became better, with his body temperature returning to normal levels.


The clinical trial showed that remdesivir might be the right drug for patients with COVID-19, and the name “remdesivir” was transliterated into “renmindexiwang” by some Chinese people, the meaning of the translation being “People’s Hope.”


Remdesivir had been tested without much success with Ebola, but Ebola virus and coronavirus are different and it may have a better success with the coronavirus. A state-tun Chinese research institute applied last week for a patent on the use of remdesivir.


Doctors in China are preparing to start to dose patients on remdesivir. There is still a few weeks to go before we know if remdesivir can give any positive signal.



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