The study involved over 1,000 patients in 75 hospitals in the world including 46 Britons. When other drugs showed more promise for ebola treatment, research was halted but the new study suggests the drug could slash coronavirus recovery time by a third after being given to subjects for ten days. About eight percent of those given the drug survived, compared to twelve percent in the placebo group, according to the Mail on Sunday.
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Dr Stephen Griffin, a virologist at the University of Leeds School of Medicine, told the paper: “These are encouraging results and show a significant difference in terms of recovery.
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“By the time the drug was given, the virus was well established and so it has a lot of catching up to do.
“It’s being asked to do a very difficult job.”
The average time spent in hospital dropped from 15 days to 11 for those given remsedivir.
Brian Angus, professor of infectious diseases at Oxford University, said that data was still being collected so whilst the results may currently look statistically insignificant that could change.
Professor Angus, who was involved in the British trials, added: “We have a lot of Covid-19 patients who stay in intensive care for quite a while, needing support such as extra oxygen.
“So if you speed up recovery by five days, that could be very useful.”
Dr Griffin explained the drug could help against long-term damage.
READ MORE: Remdesivir: What is new coronavirus drug Remdesivir?
Japan has also seen its Health Ministry begin the special approval process for the use of remdesvir to treat coronavirus patients.
Public broadcaster NHK said the process could be completed by the end of the week.
However, owing to limited supply, the drug might only be available to a select few hospitals in the initial phase.
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted Gilead Sciences authorisation to use the drug as an emergency treatment for coronavirus patients.
During a meeting with Donald Trump, Gilead Services chief executive Daniel said: “We’re humbled by this being an important first step for hospitalised patients.
“We want to make sure nothing gets in the way of these patients getting the medicine, so we made a decision to donate about 1.5 million vials.”