Gilead testing remdesivir against new COVID-19 variants

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Remdesivir is likely effective in treating the new COVID-19 strains that have emerged from the United Kingdom and South Africa, Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day told CNBC Jan. 11.

Remdesivir, the antiviral drug Gilead sells under the brand name Veklury, became the first FDA-approved COVID-19 treatment Oct. 22.

The drug, which the FDA says can only be administered to patients who are hospitalized and weigh 88 pounds or more, was approved based on data from three randomized, controlled clinical trials conducted on hospitalized patients with mild to severe COVID-19. Mr. O'Day told CNBC Gilead is now testing remdesivir to determine its effectiveness in treating new COVID-19 variants, and he is confident the results will be positive.

"Remdesivir works at the source in the cell where the virus replicates, and what we know is in these new variants, that part of the cell is not changing at all in fact," Mr. O’Day said. "So, we fully expect remdesivir to be effective against these new strains."

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