In case you have been avoiding the news to reduce your anxiety and stress, there is a new buzzword surrounding the novel coronavirus: Remdesivir. This experimental antiviral drug is expected to help people with COVID-19 recover quickly. The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) recently approved this drug for emergency use authorization in the United States.
Gilead Sciences, the pharmaceutical firm that created Remdesivir, describes it as a nucleoside ribonucleic acid (RNA) polymerase inhibitor. The company teamed up with the United States government to donate over one million vials of the drug to patients in need, primarily adults and children requiring oxygen therapy or support from ventilators. This deal is interesting when you consider that Gilead was involved in a 2019 lawsuit with the Trump administration about siphoning money from taxpayer-funded research for HIV prevention.
How Remdesivir Works:
Remdesivir belongs to one of the oldest and most important classes of drugs: nucleoside analogue. There are over 30 types of these drugs that have been approved for treating parasitic infections, various cancers, fungal infections, bacterial infections, and viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, which infects cells in the throat or nose, and begins to spread throughout the body. The more the virus replicates, the more harmful it can be. Some health experts and scientists believe that Remdesivir will prevent the virus from multiplying. By inhibiting replication, the antiviral agent helps to reduce the severity of the infection and accelerate recovery time.
In one recent study, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) evaluated the effectiveness of Remdesivir on people hospitalized from COVID-19. The results indicated that patients experienced a 31% improvement in recovery time compared to people who took a placebo. Recovery time with Remdesivir reduced to 11 days, while those who took the placebo recovered in 15 days. The study also found that the mortality rate was 8% in the treatment group, while the mortality rate in the placebo group was 11.6%.
Remdesivir And Coronavirus:
Remdesivir works to mimic the structure of a natural nucleoside or nucleotide, both of which are recognized by viruses. The difference is that the mimicked structure is modified; thus, it can help stop viral replication and further infection. Remdesivir works to block coronavirus’ RNA polymerase, a key enzyme that the virus needs for replication. It works when this enzyme accidentally grabs it instead of a regular molecule. The antiviral agent is then incorporated into the growing RNA strand, ultimately blocking it from further multiplication.
Remdesivir Is Not A Cure:
It’s very easy to get excited about Remdesivir as a potential cure, but it is not that simple. This antiviral drug is a treatment option, which needs to undergo more tests before it is widely administered. You cannot simply forget about social distancing and hand washing just because Remdesivir was developed. It will most likely be used as an adjunct therapy to help people get off ventilators sooner.
In conclusion, more studies need to be done because health officials don’t want to move too quickly on mass usage of Remdesivir. Multiple trials, data analysis, and studies need to be examined in order to ensure that current findings hold up. Should Remdesivir be combined with other treatment options? Is it meant for everyone? What are the side effects? These are questions that need to be answered before it is widely administered.