US COVID-19 drug runs out at the end of the month

US COVID-19 drug runs out at the end of the month

Remdesivir / Image=Wikipedia

[Newsphopick=Gyubin Lee] The US government's current supply of remdesivir, the only drug is known to work against Covid-19, will run out at the end of the month, Dr. Robert Kadlec, a US Department of Health and Human Services official said.

The government's last shipment of the drug will go out the week of June 29. Gilead Sciences, the company that makes the drug, is ramping up to make more, but it's unclear how much will be available this summer. 

"Right now, we're waiting to hear from Gilead what is their expected delivery availability of the drug as we go from June to July," Kadlec said. "We're kind of not in negotiations, but in discussions with Gilead as they project what the availability of their product will be." 

Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for remdesivir, an intravenous antiviral medication studied to treat Ebola but now used on hospitalized Covid patients. While not a blockbuster drug, a study shows it shaves four days off a hospital stay, from 15 to 11 days. 

The government has been working to help Gilead "with some of their supply chain challenges in terms of raw materials and being able to accelerate the process," said Kadlec, the HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response. 

Kadlec said Gilead has given a "general range" of product delivery for July and August, which then "significantly expands beginning in September, October, and through the fall as they kind of open the spigot of their production and processing." 

Gilead has offered few public details but has said it plans to have more than 500,000 treatment courses available by October, and more than a million by December. "Post-donation, the company will work closely with governments and healthcare systems to provide access for healthcare providers to prescribe remdesivir for appropriate patients," it says on a website for health care providers.

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