Monkeys infected with COVID-19 that were treated with remdesivir, a drug from Gilead Sciences Inc., were shown to be in “significantly better health” than those who were untreated, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The health organization shared the findings in a news release on April 17, noting that the amount of virus in the lungs of the monkeys who had received remdesivir was “significantly lower” than another group of monkeys who had received no treatment.
Additionally, monkeys in the treated group also had less damage caused to their lungs by COVID-19 than the non-treated group.
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According to the news release, one group of monkeys infected with COVID-19 received remdesivir while the other group, also infected with the virus, received no treatment.
“Twelve hours later the treatment group received a dose of remdesivir intravenously, and then received a daily intravenous booster dose thereafter for the next six days,” according to the news release. “The scientists timed the initial treatment to occur shortly before the virus reached its highest level in the animals’ lungs.”
The NIH noted that the findings from the study have yet to be peer-reviewed and should not be considered clinical advice.
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More than half of a group of severely ill coronavirus patients improved after receiving an experimental antiviral drug, although there’s no way to know the odds of that happening without the drug because there was no comparison group, doctors reported Friday.
While remdesivir shows promise — and shares of Gilead Sciences jumping more than 14% in recent after-hours trading — there are still no approved drugs for treating or preventing the disease.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.