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Bypass the bureaucracy involved with cure search

Give federal regulators credit for recognizing that the coronavirus pandemic is no time for business as usual. The Food and Drug Administration, in particular, seems to have surgically removed some of the red tape from its process.

On Friday, the FDA announced it will be permitting emergency use of a new drug, remdesivir, which has shown promise in shortening the time COVID-19 patients need to recover from the potentially deadly disease.

Remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences, was tested in a study involving 1,063 patients. It shortened the time needed to recover from the coronavirus by an average of 31 percent. On average, COVID-19 sufferers treated with remdesivir were able to leave the hospital in 11 days. Patients in the control group, which did not receive the drug, required an average of 15 days.

Gilead, incidentally, planned to donate its stock of remdesivir and put production in high gear to make more available.

One need not by a scientist to recognize the potential value of remdesivir — or to wonder how many lives it might have saved if it had been available sooner.

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