US authorities have approved an experimental drug, Remdesivir for emergency use on coronavirus patients as more US states eased pandemic lockdowns.
Remdesivir incorporates itself into the virus’s genome, short-circuiting its replication process.
The approval is the latest step in a global push to find viable treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus, which has left half of humanity under some form of lockdown, restrict movements, impacts negatively the world economy, and infected more than 3.3 million people.
Remdesivir, an antiviral drug initially developed to treat Ebola, was given the green light on Friday after a major trial found that it boosted recovery in serious COVID-19 patients.
‘It’s really a very promising situation,’ President Donald Trump said on Friday at the White House, where he was joined by Daniel O’Day, CEO of Gilead Sciences, which developed Remdesivir.
The drug approval came as the US leaders struggled with growing pressure from citizens wearying of stay-at-home orders.
With about 1.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, nearly 65,000 of them fatal, the United States has the highest tolls of any country, and President Trump is keen for a turnaround as the world’s largest economy reels with tens of millions left jobless.
‘Hopefully, we’re going to come in below that 100,000 lives lost, which is a horrible number nevertheless,’ said Trump, after suggesting earlier in the week the country could expect 60,000 or 70,000 fatalities.
Texas became the largest US state yet to ease curbs, while anti-lockdown demonstrations were held in several states — including California, where officials had re-closed beaches beginning Friday to avoid a repeat of last weekend when crowds flocked to the shoreline.
There were protests in 11 cities in California — where more than 50,000 coronavirus cases have been reported — with people chanting against the lockdown.