Scientists may have come closer to finding the medical treatment for COVID-19. A broad-spectrum antiviral drug, Remdesivir is undergoing a clinical trial, by a team of investigators, which also includes an Indian-American physician, to be used to treat coronavirus patients. However, the third phase has shown positive results, as per the US pharma company, Gilead Sciences that is manufacturing the drug. Remdesivir Trial For Coronavirus Treatment: US Pharma Firm Gilead Sciences Says Positive Results Seen. 

The initial results say that 50 per cent of the COVID-19 patients who were undergoing treatment with a 5-day dosage of Remdesivir have improved and more than half were also discharged from the hospital within two weeks. What may seem like a ray of hope in the current situation, a phase three clinical trial is said to be the final step in the process of approval of the drug. Here's what you need to know about Remdesivir:

What is Remdesivir?

Remdesivir is a drug in the investigative stage that has antiviral effects. It is currently being studied and is in its final phase to see if it can fight SARS-CoV 2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The drug had earlier shown results in animals against related coronaviruses like SARS and MERS-Co-V. The trials happening currently on the drugs is to find out if it can help people having COVID-19. The investigational nucleotide analog is known to have broad-spectrum antiviral activity.

Remdesivir Uses Before COVID-19

Preciously, Remdesivir known to inhibits viral RNA polymerases, has shown in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2. As per Remdesivir as a possible therapeutic option for the COVID-19, an analysis done in March 2020 the drug was developed by Gilead Sciences in 2017 as a treatment for Ebola virus infection. The analysis says, "Remdesivir is metabolized into its active form, GS-441524, that obscures viral RNA polymerase and evades proofreading by viral exonuclease, causing a decrease in viral RNA production."

In trails, Remdesivir has shown antiviral activity against multiple variants of Ebola virus in cell-based assays as well as in a rhesus monkey model of Ebola virus disease. However, it is important to note that it has NOT been approved anywhere globally for any use. Remdesivir is an experimental medicine and since it is at its trail stage,  it does not have established safety or efficacy for the treatment of any condition. Before this as well, remdesivir has not been used to treat diseases and condition and has only been in the clinical phase.

However, in the past remdesivir has demonstrated in vitro and in vivo activity in animal models against the viral pathogens MERS and SARS. They are coronaviruses, very similar to COVID-19.

What company makes Remdesivir?

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) is the company that manufactures remdesivir. Remdesivir, like other anti-virals, works against the functioning of viruses being able to replicate which means it prevents the virus from making new copies or causing an infection in the other cells.

If the trial results come out well, it can be used to help treat COCID-19 patients, helping slow down the coronavirus pandemic. "These data are encouraging as they indicate that patients who received a shorter, 5-day course of remdesivir experienced similar clinical improvement as patients who received a 10-day treatment course. While additional data are still needed, these results help to bring a clearer understanding of how treatment with remdesivir may be optimised, if proven safe and effective," said Aruna Subramanian, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Chief, Immunocompromised Host Infectious Diseases, Stanford University School of Medicine, and one of the lead investigators of the study.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 01, 2020 01:19 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website