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Study: Remdesivir Prevented Lung Damage In Monkeys Infected With COVID-19

Gilead Sciences' experimental COVID-19 drug, remdesivir, reduced viral load and prevented lung disease in macaques infected with the coronavirus, according to a study published in the medical journal Nature.

In the study, twelve macaques were infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Six of these macaques were treated with remdesivir.

The researchers found that the macaques that received remdesivir did not show signs of respiratory disease and had reduced damage to the lungs, according to the study. In addition, virus loads in the lower respiratory tract were reduced in the treated animals.

The research was undertaken by Emmie de Wit, chief of the Molecular Pathogenesis Unit at the National Institutes of Health, and her colleagues.

The findings of the study supports early use of the drug in human patients infected with coronavirus to prevent progression to pneumonia. The coronavirus has infected more than 7 million people and killed over 408,000 worldwide.

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that was initially created to treat Ebola, is the first drug to show improvement in COVID-19 in human trials. Remdesivir has been shown to shorten the recovery time in some COVID-19 patients in clinical trials.

In May, the FDA issued emergency use authorization for remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients. The drug has also received approval by Japanese health regulators.

In addition, the drug has been cleared for emergency use in severely-ill patients in South Korea and India, while some European nations are using it under compassionate programs.

On Wednesday, Singapore's Health Sciences Authority said it has granted conditional approval for remdesivir to be administered to COVID-19 patients in the country who are severely ill.

Gilead said in mid-May that it signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic drug makers based in India and Pakistan to manufacture remdesivir for distribution in 127 countries. The licensees will be able to set their own prices for the generic drugs they produce.

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