Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
As the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic continues into its six month, Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day said the announcement on Wednesday of a "positive" remdesivir trial gives the world a sign of "important progress and offers hope at a time when it is badly needed."
In an open letter obtained by Fox News, O'Day said the trial of the experimental antiviral organized by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) offers initial answers on helping COVID-19 patients recover faster.
"The results from the global, placebo-controlled trial run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are positive," O'Day wrote. "They show that patients with COVID-19 who received remdesivir recovered faster than similar patients who received placebo."
O'Day continued: "There is still more work to do and remdesivir has not been approved, but all of us at Gilead are humbled by what these promising results might mean for patients. After years of research and hard work on remdesivir, there is relief and gratitude among our teams today that their efforts have been so worthwhile."
April has been the worst month for coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S., accounting for 92 percent of the death total. Over the past 10 days, slightly more than 2,000 people per day have died from the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In addition to the positive results of the NIAID trial of remdesivir, O'Day also pointed out that a SIMPLE clinical trial of "severe" COVID-19 patients showed that a five-day treatment of remdesivir was just as effective as a 10-day treatment.
"The data from the first study showed similar clinical improvements in patients with severe symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of whether they received five or 10 days of treatment," O'Day explained. "We are very pleased with these results. They provide valuable information on treatment duration in this severe patient population and show the outcome we had all hoped to see."
Speaking at a White House Coronavirus Task Force press conference on Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, said the results of the NIAID trial "shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.”
O'Day highlighted the benefits of shorter treatment duration, including not only a shorter hospital stay for patients, but the ability to free up health care resources and have more medicine for other patients.
Gilead has committed to donating all of the remdesivir treatment courses.
In the U.S., remdesivir is still awaiting regulatory approval as a coronavirus treatment. The antiviral was previously used to treat Ebola patients and has been garnering massive attention as the world scrambles to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Experts, however, have warned that people should not take drugs unless prescribed by a doctor.
Remdesivir is one of a number of drugs currently in the spotlight. In a press conference last month, President Trump and FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn described several approaches under testing, such as chloroquine, a drug long used to treat malaria, and remdesivir.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 3.2 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, more than 1 million of which are in the U.S., the most impacted country on the planet.
Fox News' James Rogers contributed to this story.