Cat drug touted for Coronavirus | Daily News


Cat drug touted for Coronavirus

Activists are calling on the pharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences to study a drug for the treatment of Covid-19 that showed promise in curing cats of a coronavirus.

The drug, called GS-441524, is chemically related to remdesivir, an antiviral also made by Gilead, and one of the only treatments to successfully shorten the duration of Covid-19 recovery.

GS-441524 has also attracted attention for its promise to treat another potential coronavirus – feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP. The drug has become an unapproved black market treatment for the disease, once universally thought to be fatal to cats.

In a letter sent to the heads of four government agencies currently developing treatments and vaccines for Covid-19, the left-leaning Public Citizen group called on Gilead to work collaboratively to begin development of the drug.

The group also accused Gilead of choosing to develop remdesivir, which is much further along in the clinical trial process than GS-441524, because it would remain under patent longer and therefore produce more profit.

“It is sadly predictable that Big Pharma responds to a global pandemic by trying to bring to market only those drugs that maximize its profits,” said Dr Michael Abrams, a researcher with Public Citizen’s health research group and lead author of the letter. “What is alarming here is that federal scientists and Trump administration regulators appear to be willing partners with Gilead in decisions that run distinctly counter to the government’s primary imperative of advancing public health during this worldwide crisis,” said Abrams. Gilead specializes in antiviral treatments, and has drawn criticism in the past for its pricing policies. A patented hepatitis C cure costs $1,000 per pill or $84,000 per course in the United States. And the company’s HIV prevention medication Truvada, which could significantly reduce transmission, can cost as much as $20,000 a year in the US.(Guardian)

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