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        Experimental coronavirus drug remdesivir could become available this week

        In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, rubber stoppers are placed onto filled vials of the investigational drug remdesivir at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. Given through an IV, the medication is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material. (Gilead Sciences via AP)
        In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, rubber stoppers are placed onto filled vials of the investigational drug remdesivir at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. Given through an IV, the medication is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material. (Gilead Sciences via AP)(AP)

        Gilead Sciences’ much-hyped antiviral drug remdesivir, which got authorization last week from the FDA for emergency use on coronavirus patients, may be available as soon as this week.

        Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day says that it should only be a matter of days before remdesivir arrives in hospitals.

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        “We are now firmly focused on getting this medicine to the most urgent patients around the country here in the United States,” O’Day said on CBS’s “Face the Nation" on Sunday. “We intend to get that to patients in the early part of this next week."

        Administered by IV over the course of either five or 10 days, remdesivir was found by a National Institutes of Health study to shorten the recovery time for some COVID-19 patients by four days — an encouraging sign for an illness that still has no confirmed effective treatment or cure.

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        Now that it’s approved, the next step is for remdesivir to begin shipping this week, as Gilead will coordinate with government authorities to send the drug where it could do the most good

        “We’ve been working very closely with the U.S. government and with other governments around the world,” O’Day said. “In terms of the allocation question, I think we’re aligned with the US government to both serve the patients here in the United States and then to be able to also make sure, as a global company based here in the United States, that we can serve other countries around the world as well.”

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