Gilead puts emergency access to experimental coronavirus drug on hold

Gilead puts emergency access to experimental coronavirus drug on hold

Gilead Sciences said on Sunday it was temporarily putting new emergency access

to its experimental coronavirus drug remdesivir on hold due to

overwhelming demand and that it wanted most people receiving the

drug to participate in a clinical trial to prove if it is safe

and effective.

The drugmaker said in a statement there had been an

exponential increase in so-called compassionate-use requests for

the drug. The spread of the virus in Europe and the United

States has “flooded an emergency treatment access system that

was set up for very limited access to investigational medicines

and never intended for use in response to a pandemic,” it said.

Gilead said it would keep processing previously approved


Remdesivir has been touted by many – including President

Donald Trump – as one of the more promising potential treatments

for the virus.

The company said it was shifting from a system of individual

compassionate-use requests to expanded access programs, which it

expects will start in a similar time frame that new requests for

compassionate use would have been processed.

Gilead said it would make exceptions for pregnant women and

children under 18 with severe COVID-19, the highly contagious

respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

“Enrollment in clinical trials is the primary way to access

remdesivir to generate critical data that inform the appropriate

use of this investigational medicine,” Gilead said.

There are currently no approved treatments or preventive

vaccines for COVID-19. Researchers are studying existing

treatments and working on experimental ones, but most current

patients receive only supportive care such as breathing


Other potential treatments – like malaria drugs chloroquine

and hydroxychloroquine – are in short supply as demand has

surged with the rapid spread of the outbre

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