How Remdesivir, New Hope for Covid-19 Patients, Was Resurrected

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug designed to treat both hepatitis and a common respiratory virus, seemed fated to join thousands of other failed medications after proving useless against those diseases. The drug was consigned to the pharmaceutical scrap heap, all but forgotten by the scientists who once championed it.

But on Friday, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval for remdesivir as a treatment for patients severely ill with Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The story of remdesivir’s rescue and transformation testifies to the powerful role played by federal funding, which allowed scientists laboring in obscurity to pursue basic research without obvious financial benefits. This research depends almost entirely on government grants.

Dr. Mark Denison of Vanderbilt University is one of a handful of researchers who discovered remdesivir’s potential. He began studying coronaviruses a quarter-century ago, a time when few scientists cared about them — the ones

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The Covid-19 Riddle: Why Does the Virus Wallop Some Places and Spare Others?

The coronavirus has killed so many people in Iran that the country has resorted to mass burials, but in neighboring Iraq, the body count is fewer than 100.

The Dominican Republic has reported nearly 7,600 cases of the virus. Just across the border, Haiti has recorded about 85.

In Indonesia, thousands are believed to have died of the coronavirus. In nearby Malaysia, a strict lockdown has kept fatalities to about 100.

The coronavirus has touched almost every country on earth, but its impact has seemed capricious. Global metropolises like New York, Paris and London have been devastated, while teeming cities like Bangkok, Baghdad, New Delhi and Lagos have, so far, largely been spared.

The question of why the virus has overwhelmed some places and left others relatively untouched is a puzzle that has spawned numerous theories and speculations but no definitive answers. That knowledge could have profound implications for how

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‘Will You Help Save My Brother?’: The Scramble to Find Covid-19 Plasma Donors

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — The doctor was dying.

Without a way to improve his breathing, Dr. Vladimir Laroche was not likely to survive Covid-19. An internist who spent almost four decades caring for the sick, Dr. Laroche contracted the disease last month while treating patients at a health center and drive-up testing site for the novel coronavirus.

In a week’s time, he quickly spiraled. He went from noticing a stubborn sore throat to experiencing flulike symptoms that forced him to leave work early to fighting the virus in the intensive care unit of a Florida hospital.

Dr. Laroche’s body was overwhelmed by the blunt force of a virus that public health experts are still struggling to understand. One of his doctors, Dr. Leslie Diaz, an infectious disease specialist and a colleague, had an idea she believed would give Dr. Laroche a fighting chance: an infusion of blood plasma donated by someone

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Can Estrogen and Other Sex Hormones Help Men Survive Covid-19?

As the novel coronavirus swept through communities around the world, preying disproportionately on the poor and the vulnerable, one disadvantaged group has demonstrated a remarkable resistance. Women, whether from China, Italy or the U.S., have been less likely to become acutely ill — and far more likely to survive.

Which has made doctors wonder: Could hormones produced in greater quantities by women be at work?

Now scientists on two coasts, acting quickly on their hunches in an effort to save men’s lives, are testing the hypothesis. The two clinical trials will each dose men with the sex hormones for limited durations.

Last week, doctors on Long Island in New York started treating Covid-19 patients with estrogen in an effort to increase their immune systems, and next week, physicians in Los Angeles will start treating male patients with another hormone that is predominantly found in women, progesterone, which has anti-inflammatory properties

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