California-based biotech company Gilead Sciences and the U.S. government reported in a major study run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health that the drug remdesivir shortened the time it takes for COVID-19 patients to recover by four days on average - from 15 days to 11.
The major study involved more than 1,000 hospitalized patients at sites around the world, including in California. For one Southern California woman, she and her husband believe remdesivir helped save her life.
Chriselda Davis celebrated her 46th birthday two weeks ago. She survived a nearly month-long battle with COVID-19 and spent 11 days on a ventilator.
"I'm very, very grateful to be alive," Davis said.
Coronavirus: SoCal couple recounts wife's ordeal battling COVID-19, followed by 'miraculous' recovery
She and her husband Tony Davis, a pastor, credit the experimental anti-viral drug, remdesivir, which was administered to her through an IV by medical staff at Kaiser Permanente Irvine Medical Center.
"A more significant change was on the third day. He said her lungs had begun to clear up and her vitals were getting better," Tony said.
Preliminary findings of a major study of remdesivir show promise as a possible treatment for coronavirus.
Patients given the drug recovered more quickly, within 11 days on average, compared with 15 days in the placebo group.
"It is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus," Dr. Anthony Fauci said at the White House Wednesday.
The National Institutes of Health study found slightly fewer people on the drug died, about 8% in the remdesivir group compared with 11% on a placebo.
The findings will be sent to a journal for peer review.
Fauci says he announced the results early so the drug could be given to those who are taking the placebo.
"What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus," Fauci also said. "This will be the standard of care."
"I'm so glad that remdesivir has shown that it is the one right now," Tony Davis said.
Fauci says remdesivir still needs more review.