With coronavirus cases around the world now at more than two million, scientists are desperately working to develop a treatment for the virus.
Several studies are testing the effects of existing medicines on coronavirus patients, including HIV drugs and antimalarials.
Now, a new report indicates that coronavirus patients are ‘recovering quickly’ after getting the experimental drug remdesivir – an Ebola drug.
The report, by STAT News, indicates that a trial at the University of Chicago Medicine had shown promising results.
The trial includes 126 coronavirus patients, who have been given daily infusions of remdesivir.
Speaking to STAT News, Kathleen Mullane, who is overseeing the trial, said: “The best news is that most of our patients have already been discharged, which is great. We’ve only had two patients perish.”
According to Dr Mullane, remdesivir takes less than 10 days to take effect.
She explained: “When we start [the] drug, we see fever curves falling. 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 our patients are severe and most of them are leaving at six days, so that tells us duration of therapy doesn’t have to be 10 days. We have very few that went out to 10 days, maybe three.”
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Reached by STAT, Mullane confirmed the authenticity of the footage but declined to comment further.
While the trial results are yet to be published, Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute described them as ‘encouraging’.
He said: “The severely hit patients are at such high-risk of fatality. So if it’s true that many of the 113 patients were in this category and were discharged, it’s another positive signal that the drug has efficacy.”
It remains unclear when the findings will be published.