Oral COVID-19 drug being tested with goal to provide faster, more effective treatment

ATLANTA — Georgia State University researchers found encouraging results with an oral form of Remdesivir in some animal studies.

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Remdesivir is one of the main treatments used to treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals. It’s an antiviral drug that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last fall for the treatment of COVID-19, but right now it can only be used intravenously to treat patients in hospitals.

Keith Pennywell of Woodstock is glad to hear about the ongoing research happening on various COVID-19 treatments.

“There are ways, whether it be pill form or shots I think whatever’s best available for people to help them, aid and help them to heal faster,” Pennywell said.

Richard Plemper, a GSU distinguished professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences, said that’s why the research he’s been leading is so important.

Remdesivir maker Gilead is partnering with the GSU researchers as they work to create an oral version of the drug. So far, it’s only been tested on animals and the company said it had no immediate plans to study the drug in clinical trials.

“Gilead is working with Georgia State because of their extensive expertise in animal models for SARS-CoV-2 infection that are suitable for testing the preclinical efficacy of new investigational antiviral agents,” the company said in a statement. “There are currently no immediate plans to study GS-621763 in clinical trials; the compound has been used in the preclinical studies as a tool to validate specific strategy for the design of oral antivirals for COVID-19.”

Plemper said the effectiveness of the medicine depends on the time the treatment is initiated, the earlier the better.

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The goal would be to be able to give an oral version of Remdesivir right away after someone tests positive for the coronavirus.

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The GSU researchers also found that the oral form they tested on ferrets was effective against variants.

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