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Antiviral drug 'Remdesivir' assessed as potential treatment for Wuhan coronavirus

Clinical trials of Gilead Sciences’ "remdesivir" have begun in Wuhan, China, the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak, researchers recommended that the antiviral drug candidate remdesivir be assessed in humans as a potential treatment for 2019-nCoV.

Originally developed by Gilead Sciences as a treatment for Ebola, remdesivir has the ability to block protein activities that help the coronavirus create copies of itself.

The trial will include 453 critical patients and 308 less severe patients, a medical expert said Wednesday.

“We hope good results will be achieved in the trials,” said Sun Yanrong, deputy director of the science and technology ministry’s China Biotechnology Development Center, at a press conference held by the National Health Commission.

China’s National Medical Products Administration has approved applications by the China-Japan Friendship Hospital and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences to conduct trials evaluating remdesivir.

Friendship Hospital plans to study a total of 761 patients in two trials at Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, under Phase III studies that have been officially launched, Xinhua news agency reported.

Pre-clinical testing in animal models from the past showed that remdesivir was effective against both Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).


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