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New data shows Gilead's remdesivir “potently inhibited” SARS-CoV-2 in human lung cell cultures

Published on 10/07/20 at 12:16pm

New findings published from researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) at the University of North Carolina, as well as pharmaceutical firm Gilead, have detailed more positive data for the latter’s antiviral therapy remdesivir in the treatment of COVID-19 disease.  

According to the research the therapy “potently inhibited” SARS-CoV-2 in human lung cell cultures and improved lung function in COVID-19-infected mice, demonstrating “"the first rigorous demonstration of potent inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 in continuous and primary human lung cultures," according to the research published in Cell Reports.

The antiviral drug has been used in hospitalised COVID-19 patients on grounds of compassionate use since January, and a number of studies since have supported its ability to reduce recovery times in patients with the disease.

“All of the results with remdesivir have been very encouraging, even more so than we would have hoped, but it is still investigational, so it was important to directly demonstrate its activity against SARS-CoV-2 in the lab and in an animal model of disease,” explained Dr Andrea Pruijssers, co-corresponding author on the study and Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at VUMC and Lead Antiviral Scientist at the laboratory of Dr Mark Denison.  

“We also are focusing on how to use remdesivir and other drugs in combinations to increase their effectiveness during COVID-19 and to be able to treat at different times of infection,” he added.

The study is ongoing and now aims to identify how much benefit the drug can provide at varying stages of COVID-19. In their work, the researchers have found that remdesivir also shows efficacy in a range of coronaviruses, which could prove crucial for public health in future.

"We hope that will never happen, but just as we were working to characterise remdesivir over the past six years to be ready for a virus like SARS-CoV-2, we are working and investing now to prepare for any future coronavirus," explained Dr Denison. "We want remdesivir and other drugs to be useful both now and in the future."

Matt Fellows

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