Dr. Anthony Fauci says a trial of the drug remdesivir was so promising that people who took a placebo instead should be informed immediately. "This will be the standard of care,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday. "When you know a drug works, you have to let people in the placebo group know so they can take it." Fauci said the drug had shown a "clear-cut positive effect in diminishing time to recover," with a median recovery time of 11 days, compared to 15 for those in the placebo group, CNBC reports. "Although a 31% improvement doesn't seem like a knockout 100%, it is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus," Fauci said. "This is very optimistic."
Fauci, who has led the institute since 1984, said the results were "reminiscent of 34 years ago in 1986 when we were struggling for drugs for HIV." The study run by the US National Institutes of Health, involved 1,063 hospitalized coronavirus patients around the world, the AP reports. A Chinese study had less promising results, but experts were "cautiously optimistic" after another study involving severely ill patients in Chicago. Officials tell the New York Times that the FDA plans to announce an emergency use authorization for the experimental drug, possibly as soon as Wednesday. (Gilead, the drug's maker, also had good news Wednesday.)