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Cedars-Sinai Played A Role In Emergency Approval Of Promising COVID-19 Drug

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A vial of the drug Remdesivir presented this week at a news conference in Germany announcing the start of a trial there. (Ulrich Perrey / AFP via Getty Images)
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An experimental drug, remdesivir, has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for emergency treatment for COVID-19. A study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center helped nudge the FDA’s decision.

Cedars Director of Hospital Epidemiology, Jonathan Grein, says clinical trials around the country administered the antiviral medication to coronavirus patients hospitalized with pneumonia.

“This is really the trial that will help us to understand most completely not only if patients will benefit clinically from the drug, but, hopefully, which patients are most likely to benefit the most.”

Grein says the findings are only preliminary and that trends showing a lower mortality rate with the drug need more study and peer review before being confirmed.
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“This is not a cure-all,” he said. “Specifically, not everyone with COVID-19 will need this drug or even benefit from this drug.” Reports indicate that the drug seems to shorten the recovery time for patients.

Grein says the process for administering remdesivir for emergency treatment is still being determined, but Cedars-Sinai is working to have access to the drug. The approval was granted late last week.

NPR reported:

Authorization means remdesivir can be distributed in the U.S. and given intravenously to treat COVID-19 patients — both adults and children — who are hospitalized with severe disease, the FDA says. The agency defines that category as "patients with low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support such as a mechanical ventilator."

NPR on Sunday reported that the drug's maker, Gilead, spent $2.5 million in lobbying during the first quarter of this year — about 1/3 more than the same period last year. The report also said research out of China indicated the drug has no significant effect.

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