Remdesivir and COVID-19 vaccines: CA doctor provides update on latest developments

Recent studies are showing new hope in the battle against coronavirus, with positive results on trials of a new vaccine and the antiviral drug Remdesivir.
LOS ANGELES -- Recent medical news has come out that provides new hope in the battle against the novel coronavirus, both in developments of a vaccine and testing of a medical treatment for those who have contracted the virus.

A study out of Wuhan, China has shown initial success in the first phase of testing for a vaccine for the virus.

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And in the meantime, a new study is confirming that the antiviral medication Remdesivir is showing promise for treating those who have already been infected.

Dr. Anthony Cardillo, an ER doctor and CEO of Mend Urgent Care, talked with ABC7 via Skype about these latest developments:

Q: We understand that a company in China has published the first phase of results of a COVID-19 vaccine study. What do you think of the results?

"This is a very promising study coming out of Wuhan," Cardillo said.

He noted that this is the first study of a vaccine tested in humans.

Out of 1,000 patients tested, the majority were able to develop antibodies to fight the virus and build an immune response. More importantly, he noted, their T cells were able to clear out the virus particles after they were attacked by the antibodies.

But this remains just the initial phase of the study and more tests are needed on a wider scale to confirm the vaccine safely confers immunity and destroys the virus.

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"The original reports are highly promising and are really going to help us move forward," Cardillo said.

Q: A new study has shown the antiviral drug Remdesivir can help treat those who have the virus. What is your take on this drug and the results?

Cardillo noted that the study results had already leaked out and the official publication confirms what we already were told - that the antiviral drug can shorten the duration of COVID-19, from about 15 days to 11 days. And that's "very, very important for us," Cardillo said.

The drug is meant only for those with serious illness caused by COVID-19.

Hospitals are now learning they should start treatment with Remdesivir earlier in the process, rather than waiting for a patient to be intubated, he said. Still, he noted, the drug is only to be used as an IV, so it is not available as an outpatient treatment for those with only minor symptoms.

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