It was the end of April — just as the U.S. confirmed its millionth covid-19 case and 50,000 deaths — when White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci announced “highly significant” news about a drug called remdesivir.
That was surprising because the antiviral drug, owned by Gilead Sciences and developed with investment from the federal government, had languished for years with no apparent commercial use. It had struck out as a treatment for hepatitis C and Ebola.
But early in 2020, when the first global cases of a new pneumonia-like viral illness emerged in China, Gilead resurfaced the compound, branded as Veklury, and shared it with scientists across the globe. From the Oval Office, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said remdesivir would be the “standard of care” for treating coronavirus disease.
Its emergency-use approval by the Food and Drug Administration immediately drew a storm of … Read more