Yesterday, we told you about the good news from Gilead about the promising drug called Remdesivir. The company announced that early trial results of remdesivir show improvement with shorter drug treatment. Today, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, part of the China Academy of Sciences, said it has applied to patent the use of Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir to treat the current coronavirus outbreak.
Gilead has partnered with Chinese health authorities to run a Phase III clinical trial to assess remdesivir for treatment of the virus. The drug, which was originally developed to treat the Ebola virus, was found to show encouraging results when administered to the first US patient infected with the Wuhan coronavirus, according to a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Preclinical assays have also suggested that the drug might be effective against the coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, as was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The drug was given to a U.S. patient for compassionate use on day seven of the disease and their condition improved on day eight.
“Gilead is working closely with global health authorities to respond to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak through the appropriate experimental use of our investigational compound remdesivir. While there are no antiviral data for remdesivir that show activity against 2019-nCoV at this time, available data in other coronaviruses give us hope,” the pharmaceutical giant stated.
The Wuhan Institute submitted the patent application jointly with the Military Medicine Institute of the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Science. Researchers with both organizations noted in a paper published in Nature’s Cell Research this week that both remdesivir and chloroquine, used to treat malaria, may be effective in stalling the coronavirus.
Remdesivir has an antiviral activity that inhibits viral replication through premature termination of RNA transcription and has in-vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2 and in-vitro and in-vivo activity against related betacoronaviruses. In early April, seven clinical trials were initiated to determine whether remdesivir is a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19.