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FIGHTING TOGETHER: Bayer Donates 3 Million Tablets Of Coronavirus-Fighting Drug To U.S. Government
A Bayer AG logo sits on display outside the company's headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
Photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Thursday, the German company Bayer AG announced it had donated three million tablets of the malaria drug Resochin to the U.S. government to be used to fight the coronavirus.  Reuters noted, “Resochin, made of chloroquine phosphate and an approved treatment for malaria, is being evaluated in China for its potential use against COVID-19, the disease caused by the fast-spreading coronavirus.”

Although Resochin is not approved for use in the United States, Bayer is seeking emergency use authorization in the United States.  On Thursday, President Trump urged the Food and Drug Administration to expedite its approval of drugs to fight coronavirus. McClatchyDC reported:

President Donald Trump is pushing the Food and Drug Administration to speed up approval of antiviral therapies that could combat the coronavirus … In the short-term, Trump has directed the FDA to “slash red tape like nobody’s ever done before” in order to make treatments already approved for other uses available for COVID-19 patients. Trump said that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, an antiviral therapy used to treat malaria, and remdesivir, an Ebola drug, were among those that would be available as potential coronavirus treatments in short order.

Trump stated, “We have to remove every barrier. There were a lot of barriers that were unnecessary. For the FDA to act the way they acted with this kind of speed, it’s incredible.” Trump admitted that because the treatments were new, they could “do destruction” to patients, adding, “When you go with a brand new drug, you don’t know if that’s going to happen.”

Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, asserted that remdesivir and similar drugs were “going through the normal process,” but will be available for “compassionate use.” He added, “FDA’s responsibility to the American people is to ensure products are safe and effective. We’re trying to provide them the regulatory flexibility but also the scientific oversight.” Recalling treating cancer patients, he said, “One thing that was really important is to provide hope. I have great hope for how we’re going to come out of this situation. What’s also important is not to provide false hope, but to provide hope as a doctor.”

Chinese scientists reported in on Wednesday:

We have recently reported that two drugs, remdesivir (GS-5734) and chloroquine (CQ) phosphate, efficiently inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro1. Remdesivir is a nucleoside analog prodrug developed by Gilead Sciences (USA). A recent case report showed that treatment with remdesivir improved the clinical condition of the first patient infected by SARS-CoV-2 in the United States2, and a phase III clinical trial of remdesivir against SARS-CoV-2 was launched in Wuhan on February 4, 2020.

Other than its direct antiviral activity, HCQ is a safe and successful anti-inflammatory agent that has been used extensively in autoimmune diseases and can significantly decrease the production of cytokines and, in particular, pro-inflammatory factors. Therefore, in COVID-19 patients, HCQ may also contribute to attenuating the inflammatory response. In conclusion, our results show that HCQ can efficiently inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. In combination with its anti-inflammatory function, we predict that the drug has a good potential to combat the disease.


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