Trump: FDA Clears 2 Antivirals to Battle Coronavirus Symptoms

President Trump said the FDA cleared 2 antivirals to battle coronavirus symptoms. The administration said that it cut red tape at the Food and Drug Administration to get the drugs approved in a timely manner.
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The Trump administration said the Food and Drug Administration cleared two antivirals from Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Report to battle symptoms of coronavirus. 

The drugs are remdesivir and hydroxycholoroquine, which goes by the brand name Plaquenil, 

President Donald Trump said that a Phase I vaccine trial is taking place, but that vaccine wont be ready for at least 12 months. 

In the meantime, he said, antivirals that treat the symptoms of coronavirus are the best weapons in the fight against the disease. 

Remdesivir and hydroxycholoroquine will be available via prescription, and Trump said the governors of individual states will be responsible for their distribution. 

Remdesivir has displayed promise against viral pathogens like MERS and SARS, which are coronaviruses that are structurally similar to Covid-19. 

Gilead refers to Remdesivir as "experimental" and "not approved anywhere for global use."

But the FDA has emergency protocols in place that have fast-tracked the treatment, and it is available through the FDA's "compassionate use" rules. The drug has not been officially cleared by the FDA for marketing.

The administration said that it cut red tape at the Food and Drug Administration to get the drugs approved in a timely manner.

Meanwhile, Plaquenil for decades has been approved to battle malaria. The drug is also used to fight advanced arthritis. And it has shown promise in battling coronavirus symptoms. 

The administration said it had a conference call with more than 5,000 state and local officials, keeping them up to date on where the federal government stands in its response to the outbreak.

Vice President Mike Pence said that testing was now available in all 50 states and that tens of thousands of tests were being administered every day. 

Last night, legislation passed that requires state and private labs to share their test results with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pence said. 

Pence also said that now that the country's testing apparatus is testing more people, an increase in cases that will occur should not alarm citizens. It is a natural result of the increased testing capability, he said.