Gilead Sciences’ SBECD-enabled remdesivir (GS-5734) was highlighted in the New England Journal of Medicine last week for treating the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States. Gilead Sciences stated that while there are no antiviral data for remdesivir that show activity against 2019-nCoV at this time, there are available data in other coronaviruses. Remdesivir is not yet licensed or approved anywhere globally and has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective for any use.
Treatment with intravenous remdesivir (a novel nucleotide analogue prodrug in development) was initiated on the evening of day 7, and no adverse events were observed in association with the infusion. On hospital day 8 (illness day 12), the patient’s clinical condition improved. Supplemental oxygen was discontinued, and his oxygen saturation values improved to 94 to 96% while he was breathing ambient air. The previous bilateral lower-lobe rales were no longer present. His appetite improved, and he was asymptomatic aside from intermittent dry cough and rhinorrhea. As of January 30, 2020, the patient remains hospitalized. He is afebrile, and all symptoms have resolved with the exception of his cough, which is decreasing in severity.
Although a decision to administer remdesivir for compassionate use was based on the case patient’s worsening clinical status, randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of remdesivir and any other investigational agents for treatment of patients with 2019-nCoV infection.