USA – FDA Looks to Speed Access to Potential COVID-19 Treatments

With the potential for a coronavirus vaccine likely more than a year away, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is doing what it can to speed access to potential COVID-19 treatments, President Donald Trump said in a press conference alongside FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Thursday.

Specifically, Trump discussed one treatment that already has FDA approval, chloroquine, first approved as a malaria treatment more than 50 years ago, as well as another potential treatment, Gilead’s experimental antiviral remdesivir, which is in clinical trials in the US and China and which has been used in about 250 patients in the US on a compassionate use basis, according to FDA.

Trump at first said during the press conference that chloroquine has been approved by FDA as a COVID-19 treatment, but then FDA later clarified that the drug has not been approved for that indication. And although Trump praised the Right-to-Try law, Hahn noted that, unlike trials using Right-to-Try, compassionate use allows FDA to immediately collect information on experimental treatments and then make the right decisions about the safety and efficacy of those treatments…