New York, NY (Businessweek) — This is the inside story of how Gilead fast-tracked remdesivir into mass production ahead of the coronavirus pandemic.
The antiviral drug, 11 years in the making, was fast-tracked into mass production.
Preliminary data from the 1,063-person trial show the medicine sped recovery in the most serious cases of Covid-19 by about four days. The Food and Drug Administration, in granting the emergency authorization, didn’t allow Gilead to claim the drug is safe and effective for Covid-19; the agency said only that it’s reasonable to believe the medicine may help. Many additional drugs and vaccines will probably be needed to stop the pandemic.
Gilead plans to donate the first 1.5 million vials, enough for roughly 200,000 patients. (The number depends on the dosage: The emergency use authorization allows both a 10-day course of treatment for patients on ventilators and a 5-day course for those not on ventilators.) Those will be delivered this spring. By the fall a much larger supply should start to become available.