No, this new drug doesn’t keep you from getting COVID-19, butit makes your chances of surviving slightly better.
AP Scientists on Wednesday announced the first effective treatment against the coronavirus — an experimental drug that can speed the recovery of COVID-19 patients — in a major medical advance that came as the economic gloom caused by the scourge deepened in the U.S. and Europe.
The U.S. government said it is working to make the antiviral medication remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible.
“What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert. “This will be the standard of care.”
The trial had 1,063 patients spread across 22 countries, including the U.S., and the first participant was an American who had been quarantined on the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship wracked by the virus that was docked in Japan earlier this year, according to the NIAID.
It had not yet been peer-reviewed but was being submitted to a journal for review, Fauci said as he previewed the results. Experts interviewed by ABC News urged caution until the full data was released.
Still, word of the new drug came as the U.S. government reported that American economic output is shriveling in the biggest and fastest collapse since the Depression. The virus has killed over 220,000 people worldwide, including more than 60,000 confirmed deaths in the U.S., and led to lockdowns and other restrictions that have closed factories and other businesses around the globe.
For those who took the drug, Fauci said, it took less time to recover, averaging 11 days compared to 15 days for those in a control group who received a placebo.
Fauci said the data represented “a very important proof of concept” — showing that a drug could, in fact, “block” COVID-19.
He also said the mortality rate trended lower for those who took the drug — 8% compared to 11% for those who did not — although he noted that trend was not yet statistically significant, and the results will undergo further analysis.
Associated Press: By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, MARILYNN MARCHIONE and PAT EATON-ROBB