New findings by Gilead Sciences suggest that its antiviral COVID-19 treatment Velkury, also known as Remdesivir, will continue to be active against the new omicron variant.After conducting an initial genetic analysis of more than 200 available sequences of the omicron variant, including those from South Africa, Asia and Europe.
The biotechnology giant has found no new mutations present in the strain that are expected to alter the viral RNA polymerase compared to previous COVID-19 variants. Remdesivir targets the viral RNA polymerase in order to prevent replication of SARS-CoV-2 inside infected cells. Gilead continues to evaluate Remdesivir through in vitro antiviral testing.
The company said that Veklury’s antiviral activity has been confirmed in vitro against all major previously identified variants of SARS-CoV-2 including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. Due to the similarities in the viral RNA polymerase, these laboratory findings suggest that Veklury will also continue to be active against the Omicron variant and Gilead will conduct laboratory testing to confirm this analysis.The company is currently working with government and academic experts to obtain viral isolates and conduct in vitro lab testing of antiviral activity against omicron and will share the data with regulators, physicians and public health authorities when testing is completed.
Remdesivir, which is approved or authorized for temporary use in approximately 50 countries worldwide, has been made available to 9 million patients, including 6.5 million people in 127 middle- and low-income countries. Data from a Phase 3 clinical trial found Remdesivir to be 87% effective at reducing hospitalizations in high-risk patients who were diagnosed early.