European, South Korean authorities vie for COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir

Andrew Cummings
May 31, 2020

On that basis, the centre said the conditions had been met for approval of the drug for use in patients with "severe" Covid-19 infection.

Remdesivir was initially developed as a treatment for Ebola.

Hershey Medical Center is one of approximately 100 hospitals internationally participating in the continuation of the study and is the only hospital in central Pennsylvania to participate in the clinical trial. Baricitinib is already FDA-approved in the USA and more than 65 other countries as a treatment for adults with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Doctors may be able to treat twice as many patients as previously thought with the only medication shown to affect the progress of COVID-19, according to an global study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.


The next step, he said, is to show whether remdesivir is effective earlier in the disease process.

The findings on remdesivir have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Clinical trials are underway in a number of countries to determine remdesivir's safety and effectiveness against COVID-19. Participation is voluntary and open to adult hospitalized COVID-19 patients who meet certain criteria and provide consent.

United States (US) pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences has applied to India's drug regulator seeking marketing authorization for its antiviral drug remdesivir.


"We do have a supply here at Hershey", Paules said.

The U.S. government began distributing the drug this month but doctors said they were concerned after being denied their request to obtain the new therapy, IDSA president Dr. Thomas File told Reuters in May.

Baricitinib, like any drug, has side effects that could be worrisome.

Common side effects for remdesivir include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, although Paules said those side effects were rare.


Remdesivir is now undergoing clinical trials around the world, including in the UK. Baricitinib was approved in 2018 to treat rheumatoid arthritis and researchers are hoping combining the two drugs will address COVID-19's extreme inflammatory response, which many experts believe is more damaging than the virus itself.

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