First human trial of potential Covid-19 antibody treatment begins, drug remdesivir makes strides: Top updates on Covid-19 vaccine

As the number of coronavirus cases race beyond the 6 million-mark globally, scientists and experts are speeding up the effort to arrive at the potential vaccine for Covid-19.    

In what can be termed as nothing short of stepping stone in India’s fight against Covid-19, New Delhi has approved Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir for emergency use for five doses in treating Covid-19 patients. 

Here are the key developments:

• Remdesivir, which is administered intravenously in hospital, is the first drug to show improvement in Covid-19 patients in formal clinical trials and is at the forefront of the battle against Covid-19, which has no approved treatment or vaccine. The drug was granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration last month and has received approval by Japanese health regulators. 

• Besides the US and India, South Korea has also approved the emergency use of Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir to treat Covid-19. 

• Earlier this week, Gilead said remdesivir showed modest benefit in patients with moderate Covid-19 given a five-day course, while those who received it for 10 days in the study did not fare as well.

• A senior US Army vaccine researcher said it was reasonable to expect that some sort of coronavirus vaccine could be available to part of the US population by the end of 2020, news agency Reuters reported. 

• American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company announced the first human trial of its potential Covid-19 drug. According to the Indianapolis-based drug-making firm, the drug agent has been drawn from the blood sample of an early US Covid-19 patient who successfully recovered from deadly contagion. 

• Chairman of Swiss multinational chemicals and biotechnology company, Lonza, said the group aims to speed completion of two commercial production lines for Moderna Inc’s trial Covid-19 vaccine. 

• The first results from the world’s largest randomised trial of drugs to treat Covid-19 patients could be available in early July, one of the scientists leading the UK-based study called Recovery said on Tuesday.

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