The condition of the patient suffering from COVID-19, who was being treated with Remdesivir, improved significantly.
Czech Television’s spokeswoman Marie Heřmánková confirmed the news on Friday morning.
The Czech patient, a Prague taxi driver, was admitted to the General University Hospital in critical condition and has been on ventilation for many days. Today, he has been disconnected from the ECMO, which ensures extracorporeal blood oxygenation.
The hospital will give further details at 12:30 during a press conference.
“This is not the cure, but the patient’s condition has vastly improved,” said Martin Balík, head of the anesthesiology clinic.
The hospital received the permit to use the experimental drug from the U.S. firm Gilead. At the same time, Gilead announced on Sunday that it has stopped granting “experimental treatments” due to excessive demand in recent days.
Remdesivir is an antiviral, intravenous medicine made by Gilead Sciences that’s been around for years as an experimental compound, but was never approved by the Food and Drug Administration — or any other country’s drug approval agency.
Remdesivir was one of the drugs being studied in 2014 as a potential Ebola treatment, but was sidelined in favor of other treatments and vaccines.
Since then, scientists have done lab studies to see how Remdesivir performed against several other viruses, including two viruses in the same coronavirus family as the one that causes COVID-19 — the viruses behind SARS and MERS. They saw positive results in lab tests and animal studies, and think the drug interferes with viruses’ ability to replicate.
As of Friday morning, there are 2,062 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection in the Czech Republic. Ten patients have fully recovered, nine died. A total of 31,127 tests have been carried out.