Hope Abounds as Antiviral Drug Helps Most Coronavirus Patients Quickly Recover


Coronavirus patients treated with Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medicine remdesivir in a clinical trial at a Chicago hospital have made quick recoveries in terms of their fever and respiratory symptoms, according to a new report.

The Thursday report from STAT News said that nearly all patients treated with remdesivir were discharged within a week.

Remdesivir was one of the first antiviral drugs identified as having a possible impact on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that leads to COVID-19.

Gilead is currently conducting seven clinical trials around the world to determine if the drug is safe and effective in treating COVID-19, according to an open letter from the company’s CEO, Daniel O’Day.

“We know that there is tremendous interest around when the data from these trials will be available and what they will tell us about remdesivir. We feel the urgency as we wait for the science to speak,” the letter reads.

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One hundred twenty-five patients with COVID-19 were recruited for the University of Chicago Medicine trial, in which they were treated with daily infusions of remdesivir, STAT News reported. Of those patients, 113 had severe symptoms from the disease.

“The best news is that most of our patients have already been discharged, which is great,” Kathleen Mullane, a University of Chicago infectious disease specialist, said in a video obtained by STAT News.

“We’ve only had two patients perish.”

Although remdesivir and other drugs are not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the latest data is encouraging.

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“It’s always hard … but certainly when we start [the] drug, we see fever curves falling,” Mullane said, adding that the trial does not include a placebo group.

“Fever is now not a requirement for people to go on trial, we do see when patients do come in with high fevers, they do [reduce] quite quickly. We have seen people come off ventilators a day after starting therapy. So, in that realm, overall our patients have done very well.”

Most of the patients in the study were discharged within six and 10 days.

According to The Wall Street Journal, over 140 therapies and vaccines for COVID-19 are in development worldwide.

However, one doctor who has memories of untested drugs being given to suffering Ebola patients between 2014 to 2016 is advising people to slow down.

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“Many drugs we believed were fantastic ended up killing people,” Dr. Andre Kalil told The New York Times. “It is so hard to keep explaining that.”

One patient of the University of Chicago’s remdesivir trial called the drug “a miracle,” according to STAT News.

“My fever dropped almost immediately and I started to feel better,” Slawomir Michalak said of his first infusion.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith