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Gilead’s Antiviral Remdesivir Prevents Disease Progression in Monkeys with COVID-19

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 21 Apr 2020
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Image: Gilead’s Antiviral Remdesivir Prevents Disease Progression in Monkeys with COVID-19  (Photo courtesy of Gilead Sciences)
Image: Gilead’s Antiviral Remdesivir Prevents Disease Progression in Monkeys with COVID-19 (Photo courtesy of Gilead Sciences)
A study by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases {(NIAID) Rockville, MD, USA} has found that early treatment with Gilead Sciences’ (Foster City, CA, USA) remdesivir significantly reduced clinical disease and damage to the lungs of rhesus macaques infected with SARS-CoV-2. The study was designed to follow dosing and treatment procedures used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients being administered the experimental antiviral drug in a large, multi-center, clinical trial

The study involved two groups of six rhesus macaques, with one group receiving remdesivir and the other animals being served as an untreated comparison group. The scientists infected both the groups with SARS-CoV-2 and administered an intravenous dose of remdesivir to the treatment group after 12 hours, followed by a daily intravenous booster dose for the next six days. The scientists timed the initial treatment to occur shortly before the virus reached its highest level in the animals’ lungs.

The scientists examined all animals 12 hours after the initial treatment and found the six treated animals to be in significantly better health than the untreated group, with the trend continuing over the course of the seven-day study. One of the six treated animals exhibited mild breathing difficulty, whereas all the six untreated animals showed rapid and difficult breathing. The amount of virus found in the lungs of the animals in the treatment group was significantly than those in the untreated group, and SARS-CoV-2 caused less damage to the lungs of the treated animals than the untreated animals.

The scientists believe that the data supports initiating remdesivir treatment in COVID-19 patients as early as possible to achieve maximum treatment effect, although they have noted that while remdesivir helped prevent pneumonia, it did not reduce virus shedding by the animals.

Related Links:
Gilead Sciences
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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