NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas is in the pre-enrolment phase for a clinical trial of the drug Remdesivir that has been proven to treat the coronavirus (COVID-19), confirmed National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme Director Dr Nikkiah Forbes yesterday. A statement by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) issued on Wednesday revealed that hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement who received Remdesivir recovered faster than similar patients who received a placebo. The preliminary data analysis was based on a randomized, controlled trial involving 1063 patients, which began on February 21. The trial showed that patients on the drug, made by Gilead Sciences Inc., had a 31 percent faster time to recovery than those on a placebo. “We did get that report that the drug Remdesivir has shown very good promising results, that it can shorten the duration of illness for those people who have COVID19 from 15 days on average to 11 days,” Forbes said, when asked about the drug during the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 update. “In order to get this drug, it has to be through clinical trials. So we did apply to be considered for a clinical trial. We are getting some information and are in the pre-enrolment phase.” Forbes continued: “So if that is indeed confirmed and that we have our registration numbers and can enroll patients in the trial, we will be considering using that drug and will therefore have authorization to do so.” Remdesivir has become the first drug to show a clear-cut effect in treating the respiratory illness. On Wednesday, Gilead Sciences, Inc. also announced topline results from the open-label, Phase 3 SIMPLE trial evaluating five-day and ten-day dosing durations of the investigational antiviral Remdesivir in hospitalized patients with severe manifestations of COVID-19. The study demonstrated that patients receiving a 10-day treatment course of Remdesivir achieved similar improvement in clinical status compared with those taking a five-day treatment course. Remdesivir is not yet licensed or approved anywhere globally and has not yet been demonstrated to be safe or effective for the treatment of COVID-19. Gilead plans to submit the full data for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in the coming weeks.