Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Trump touted a drug's effectiveness against coronavirus. Now its manufacturer is overwhelmed by demand.

President Trump has promoted a few different drugs as effective remedies against the novel coronavirus in recent days, but demand for one of them has become so overwhelming that its manufacturer has temporarily shut down its emergency access program to build a broader one, The New York Times reports.

Gilead, which produces remdesivir, a drug that's being studied in large-scale clinical trials across the globe and is currently administered in certain coronavirus cases, said it can no longer grant compassionate use requests because it can't keep up with the number coming in. The company said its emergency access program was limited and never intended for a pandemic, but now that the world is facing one, Gilead intends to set up a broader access program to help more people. "This approach will both accelerate access to remdesivir for severely ill patients and enable the collection of data from all participating patients," the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, though, the Times reports some people said the decision means ill patients with few options will have to face delays.

It's not clear how effective remdesivir is against COVID-19 on a large scale, but the trials underway in China should deliver some sense of its prowess by the end of April. Read more at The New York Times.