Credit Intercept for great reporting. This tidbit is drawn from their story..
Redmesivir is an antiviral drug the effectiveness of which against the coronavirus is being tested. This effectiveness of the drug arises from tricking the virus into incorporating it into its genome and preventing the virus from reproducing. I don’t understand how a drug can do this, but preventing the virus from reproducing stops the virus. That’s a big deal.
We don’t know whether this intravenously administered drug is safe or effective. We won’t know that until the clinical trials are over. We do know that many are optimistic and want to use it now. Unfortunately it almost became unavailable.
Late in March, the FDA granted the drug’s maker, Gilead, authority to control access to the drug. The drug was declared to be an “orphan” usable for a “rare disease” (That rare disease was the coronavirus spreading throughout the world.) With that designation, Gilead could increase the price significantly and reduce its availability. Thanks Trump. That’s one more way to screw up our response to the pandemic.
Fortunately, Gilead declined the designation. Intercept’s reporting may have figured into the decision. Good publicity for turning down the designation is better than being known as the drug company that price-gouged the world for the drug that would have stopped the pandemic.
If redmesivir works as Giliead and a lot of other people think it will, this will be a story with a happy ending