The head of the manufacturer of remdesivir, an antiviral that has been shown to reduce recovery times in COVID-19 patients, said on Sunday that the company had exported the drug and is making it available to U.S. patients through the U.S. government.
Daniel O & # 39; Day, CEO of Gilead Sciences, said the company is donating its entire existing range of medications – 1.5 million vials, enough to treat 100,000 to 200,000 patients.
"We have exported thousands of clinical trial and compassionate treatment courses," said O & # 39; Day on CBS's "Face the Nation."
"And our cooperation with the government was such that we were very transparent with them here in the US and have a good relationship with the future allocation."
U.S. regulators approved the experimental emergency medication against COVID-19 on Friday after a large clinical trial showed it reduced recovery time in some coronavirus patients by a third.
It is the first drug to show positive results in the treatment of COVID-19 since the new coronavirus appeared in China late last year.
Mr. O & # 39; Day said the U.S. government will determine how the drug is distributed in the United States, depending on where it is most needed.
"They will ship tens of thousands of treatment courses earlier this week, and will adjust as the epidemic shifts and develops in different parts and cities across the United States," he said.
Mr. O & # 39; Day said that there will be a significantly greater supply of remdesivir in the second half of the year.
In the meantime, the company has not been excluded from exporting the drug, he said.
"Regarding the allotment issue, I think we are in tune with the United States government to serve patients here in the United States and then, as a global company based in the United States, to ensure that we can serve other countries, "he said.
"We have had very good dialogues with the government and it is going well."
Remdesivir, which is given by injection, has already been available to some patients who have entered clinical trials or who are looking for "compassionate use".
Approval by the federal agency for the surveillance of food and pharmaceuticals enables a much broader distribution and use in adults and children who are hospitalized with a severe form of COVID-19.
The FDA hard defines as a low blood oxygen level that requires oxygen therapy or is in a ventilator.