U.S. authorizes use of remdesivir to treat COVID-19. Nigerian doctor in U.S. Babafemi Taiwo is leading a study on the antiviral drug

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday authorized emergency use of remdesivir to treat COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The authorization is not a definitive approval as it did not follow the FDA’s official approval processes.

In a fact sheet released on Friday, the FDA clarified that there was still no drug to treat COVID-19. But remdesivir had shown some early positive results.

FDA wrote: “There is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19. Remdesivir was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the time to recovery in some people. There are no medicines approved by the FDA as safe and effective to treat people in the hospital who have COVID-19.”

A bright doctor from the West African country of Nigeria Babafemi Taiwo is leading part of a major study on antiviral drug Remdesivir appearing to treat COVID-19.

CNN interviewed Dr. Taiwo, whose name suggests he is a twin from the southwestern part of Nigeria, to discuss the promising results.

Babafemi Taiwo Remdesivir 
Dr. Babafemi Taiwo appearing on CNN on Wednesday April 29 to explain the major study

Remdesivir, the antiviral drug made by Gilead Sciences, appears to help coronavirus patients recover more quickly than no treatment at all, but it does not significantly reduce death, according to preliminary data from the National Institutes of Health, per Axios.

Preliminary results of remdesivir show it can help hospitalized patients with COVID-19 recover faster.

“The data shows that remdesivir has a clear cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a meeting between President Trump and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, NPR reported.

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Dr. Fauci described the results as “highly significant”, hailing them as “quite good news.”

The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Fauci leads, and which is part of the National Institutes of Health, NPR added.

Fauci said it was the first “truly high-powered” randomized placebo controlled trial of remdesivir, noting that it involved more than a thousand hospitalized patients at sites in numerous countries. Another randomized controlled trial in China, with results that were also announced Wednesday, was far smaller, per NPR.

NPR added that “The NIH trial of the antiviral, which is made by Gilead Sciences, began on February 21. The preliminary study results are not yet published in a peer-reviewed trial but NIH released them after an analysis by the data safety monitoring board overseeing the trial. Fauci said the results were announced because of the ethical responsibility to allow the placebo group to access remdesivir, since there was now clear evidence that the drug works.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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