Gilead Sciences Inc, US biotechnology firm that develops and commercializes drugs, has announced plans to donate 1.5 million doses of experimental coronavirus drug for the treatment of the novel disease.

Daniel O’Day, chief executive officer (CEO) of the firm, in a statement issued on Saturday, said the drug, known as remdesivir, could facilitate treatment of 140,000 severely ill patients in hospitals.

According to him, the doses were available for “compassionate use, expanded access and clinical trials and will be donated for broader distribution following any potential future regulatory authorizations.”

“In the space of two months, we have significantly increased our available supply of remdesivir using the inventory of active pharmaceutical ingredients we already had on hand,” O’Day said.

“Our existing supply, including finished product ready for distribution as well as investigational medicine in the final stages of production, amounts to 1.5 million individual doses.

“Depending on the optimal duration of treatment, which is something we are studying in clinical trials, this supply could equate to well over 140,000 treatment courses for patients.”

The development comes days after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine — two age-long anti-malaria drugs — for treatment of patients with the killer virus.

The US is one of the worst-hit countries in the world with over 300,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 pandemic and more than 8,000 deaths recorded so far.

Globally, 66,592 people have died with nearly 1.3 million cases recorded — as of the time this report was filed.



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