Remdesivir, the drug which helped then US President Donald Trump quickly overcome covid-19, is already used in Argentina in cases of moderate seriousness, following its approval in April by the national drugs agency, it was reported.
According to Infobae, the drug is now available in at least 10 provinces and is only administered in health care centres.
The antiviral medication was originally intended against Ebola and then it turned out to be effective against MERS and other coronaviruses worldwide.
Science has been facing countless hurdles in finding treatments for diseases caused by viruses, which are much more diverse than bacteria. They also replicate within human cells and that, coupled with the way they store genetic information, some in the form of DNA and others as RNA, such as SARS-CoV-2, poses a permanent challenge to developments.
Since the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of drugs previously approved for other conditions were tried to defeat SARS-CoV-2 around the world.
Along these lines, Argentina's National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) approved the use of Remdesivir in late April.
A decade ago, a group of chemists made a compound they called 3a, which in laboratory experiments, eliminated several types of viruses, including one type of coronavirus. Remdesivir is a descendant of that molecule. It was named GS-5734 by Gilead, the company behind its development and also creators of the Truvada combination (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil), the first therapy to prevent HIV contagion, known as PrEP.
Remdesivir is already being marketed more frequently in Argentina and is only administered intravenously in a hospital setting. The treatment was found to be useful in pneumonia patients who needed little oxygen support.
The approval granted is based on evidence from three randomized controlled trials, including the Phase 3 ACTT-1 trial, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) whose final results have already been published.
Clinical studies have shown that Remdesivir can cut down the recovery time of hospitalized patients by five days compared to placebo, potentially freeing up much-needed hospital time and resources during the current pandemic. The antiviral drug has also been proved to have a greater benefit when used in moderately ill patients in the early stages of the disease. In addition to that, the active principles of Remdesivir have not been undermined by mutations of the virus.