Gilead Sciences' remdesivir appeared to have an effect in US cruise passengers treated for COVID-19 in Japan, although data are limited, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Richard Childs, an assistant surgeon general and lung specialist at the US National Institutes of Health, said 14 Americans who contracted SARS-CoV-2 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship were treated at Japanese hospitals with the experimental antiviral.
According to Childs, the patients were "critically ill people and their average age is 75," adding that "many of them were probably going to die in a short amount of time, and two weeks later nobody has died and more than half of them have recovered."
He called the results "absolutely amazing," but cautioned that "it's going to take us a while to figure out what the impact of the drug has been."
The drug is being tested in the US and Asia by independent groups as well as Gilead, but no large-scale results are available.
Remdesivir is administered intravenously once a day for 10 days, with a higher dose the first day. Childs said he noticed patients needed less support from a ventilator after getting the drug.