A company has started an early-stage study of its antiviral coronavirus treatment remdesivir that can be inhaled, for use outside of hospitals. The company, Gilead Sciences, said the trial, which will enrol about 60 healthy Americans aged between 18 and 45, will test the drug particularly in those cases where the disease has not progressed to require hospitalisation.
The drug is currently used intravenously and an inhaled formulation would be given through a nebulizer, which could potentially allow for easier administration outside hospitals.
Remdesivir was granted emergency use authorisation in the US to treat severe cases of COVID-19 in patients who are hospitalised. Gilead is hoping to target the disease at the onset with the inhaled form of remdesivir, by delivering the drug directly to the primary site of infection.
Remdesivir is believed to be at the forefront in the fight against the coronavirus after the drug helped shorten hospital recovery times in a clinical trial. Gilead also plans to start additional clinical trials to evaluate remdesivir when used in combination with anti-inflammatory medicines.
Meanwhile, India has witnessed a record single-day surge of 24,879 COVID-19 cases taking the caseload to 7,67,296 on Thursday. With this, India overtakes Russia to become third worst-hit nation. However, the government maintains that there is no community spread.
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Karnataka, Telangana, UP and Andhra Pradesh are states that have contributed around 75 per cent of the total cases. The death toll climbed to 21,129 with 487 new fatalities, the updated data at 8 am showed. The number of recoveries stands at 4,76,377,while there are 2,69,789 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country.
However, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan maintained that there may be some localised pockets where transmission is high but as a country, there’s no community transmission.
Harsh Vardhan also emphasised that India is a country with the second-highest population in the world and despite this, the cases per million are 538, while the world average is 1,453.