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COVID-19 Drug Remdesivir Shows 'Clear-cut Positive Effect' in U.S. Trial

The experimental antiviral holds promise as a treatment

Remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug produced by biotech firm Gilead Sciences, has been one of the most talked about treatment options for COVID-19, even in the face of conflicting reports about its potential. On Wednesday, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said preliminary data from a US-based clinical trial showed it can help patients recover from the coronavirus faster

The preliminary findings were shared by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIAID, during a press briefing at the White House on Wednesday. Fauci said the early results are "a very important proof-of-concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus." However, the full peer-reviewed data from the trial are yet to be released but will be available in a forthcoming report, according to NIAID.

Remdesivir isn't specifically designed to destroy SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Instead, it knocks out a specific piece of machinery viruses use to replicate, known as "RNA polymerase." It was originally designed as a drug to treat Ebola, but when trialed, it turned out to be mostly unsuccessful. In 2017, a study published in the journal Science showed remdesivir to be effective against human coronaviruses in cells and mouse models

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