Gilead Sciences, Inc. GILD is donating 1.5 million doses of remdesivir, its investigational drug for COVID-19, for compassionate use, expanded access and clinical trials, Chairman and CEO Daniel O'Day said Saturday.
The doses are intended for patients with severe symptoms who will receive them intravenously on a daily basis in a hospital setting, the CEO said in a letter posted on Gilead's website.
The 1.5 million doses could amount to more than 140,000 treatment courses in COVID-19 patients, depending on the duration of treatment, he said.
The antiviral drug was first developed by Gilead as a potential treatment for the Ebola and Marburg viruses. Multiple clinical trials for the drug are underway in COVID-19 with thousands of patients worldwide participating, the company's CEO said Saturday.
The drug is investigational and unapproved, and its safety and efficacy are not yet known, according to Gilead.
"Having a potential treatment in our hands comes with significant responsibility," O'Day said.
"Providing our existing supplies at no charge is the right thing to do, to facilitate access to patients as quickly as possible and in recognition of the public emergency posed by this pandemic."
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Gilead Sets Goal Of Producing 1M More Remdesivir Doses This Year
As of Sunday, there are 1,252,265 confirmed coronavirus cases globally and 68,147 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 238,675 people have recovered from the virus, according to the university.
Over 1,700 patients have been treated programs where Gilead has provided remdesivir on a compassionate use basis for children and pregnant women, O'Day said.
The company has set a goal of producing more than 500,000 remdesivir treatment courses by October and 1 million by the end of 2020.
The production of the drug requires specialized chemistry, multiple chemical reactions, scarce raw materials and sterile manufacturing capabilities, the CEO said. Gilead has managed to cut the end-to-end manufacturing timeline for remdesivir from about one year to roughly six months, he said.
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