US President Donald Trump said on Friday the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted authorization to Gilead Sciences Inc for emergency use of its experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir to treat patients with COVID-19.
During a meeting in the Oval Office with Trump, Gilead Chief Executive Daniel O'Day called the move an important first step and said the company was donating 1 million vials of the drug to help patients.
The FDA is able to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) even in cases when the drug had not passed all the needed tests to obtain FDA approval if it may help treat life threatening illnesses that currently cannot be treated in other ways, The Verge reported.
The drug is meant to block the activity of the novel coronavirus in cells.
Trump seemingly increased his estimate of possible US deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, telling a White House event he hopes for less than 100,000 fatalities from COVID-19."Hopefully we're going to come in below that 100,000 lives lost, which is a horrible number nevertheless," Trump said. This is a higher upper limit than the 60,000 to 70,000 deaths he discussed on Monday.
"So, yeah, we’ve lost a lot of people. But if you look at what original projections were — 2.2 million — we’re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000," he added.On Wednesday the number of deaths in the US passed 60,000, eclipsing the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. By Friday afternoon, at least 63,260 people had died, according to a Reuters tally of state and local government reports.