You’ve probably heard a lot about remdesevir in the news recently. Manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc., this drug has shown promise in helping patients infected with COVID-19. On May 1, the FDA issued an emergency authorization for potential COVID-19 treatment, and on Saturday, the Department of Health and Human Services said the states with the greatest number of COVID-19 cases have been allotted doses of the drug based on their case counts. Gilead has donated 1.5 million doses of the drug to HHS. What you may not know is that this drug is almost identical to a drug available on the black market in China that has been used to successfully treat Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP.)
Dr. Ingrid Niesman, the Director of the SDSU Electron Microscope Imaging Facility at San Diego State University with 30 years of experience in technical electron microscopy, cell biology, neuroscience and infectious disease research, previously reported on this drug and the experience of some cat parents with FIP cats in her three-part series from the Winn Feline Symposium on FIP.
On Friday, The Atlantic ran a fascinating article on the connection between the two drugs, titled A Much-Hyped COVID-19 Drug Is Almost Identical to a Black-Market Cat Cure. Click here to read the article.
“In light of the positive early trials of remdesevir against SARS-CoV-2, Gilead should recognize the contribution of the cat community in moving this drug forward after its failure against other viruses,” said Dr. Niesman. “They should immediately restart FIP trials in earnest and seek emergency status for FIP afflicted cats. FIP and COVID-19 have many overlapping symptoms. We can learn much more about this drug by studying both diseases simultaneously. I hope Gilead is listening.”