Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Remdesivir, marketed as Veklury, has a price of $390 per vial. Photo: Dirk Waem/Belga/AFP via Getty Images

Veterans who had COVID-19 last year and were given Gilead's coronavirus drug remdesivir (marketed as Veklury) stayed in the hospital longer than other similar patients who did not receive it, according to a new study in JAMA Network Open.

Why it matters: "Perhaps [patients] were being kept in the hospital to finish remdesivir," said Mike Ohl, one of the study's authors and an infectious disease physician at the VA Medical Center in Iowa City who has treated COVID patients. "We shouldn't be keeping people in the hospital just to complete remdesivir if they're otherwise ready to leave."

The big picture: This contradicts, somewhat, a previous major remdesivir trial last year funded by the National Institutes of Health that found coronavirus patients who received the intravenous drug were discharged from the hospital in 10 days vs. 15 days for people in the placebo group.

  • There was no statistically significant improvement in survival.

Driving the news: This new study looked back at the real-world use of remdesivir among VA patients who got COVID, while attempting to adjust for how sick patients were.

  • Patients who got remdesivir stayed in the hospital longer (six days) than those who didn't get the drug (three days). Again, there was no evidence the drug improved survival.

Between the lines: The NIH trial focused on sicker COVID patients and excluded people who doctors believe likely would've been discharged within three days.

  • The VA researchers believe many COVID patients who could have gone home in three or fewer days — and would have been excluded from the NIH trial — were prescribed remdesivir and stayed in the hospital solely to complete their treatment course.
  • The VA's instructions for remdesivir only "referred to a five-day or a 10-day course recommendation but did not include explicit language about early termination for recovered patients," Gio Baracco, a top infectious disease doctor at Miami's VA health system, wrote in an accompanying JAMA article.

What they're saying: Gilead downplayed the JAMA study in a statement, saying "the efficacy and safety profile of Veklury has been established" in the NIH trial.

The bottom line: Gilead charges the federal government $390 per vial and commercial insurers $520 per vial for a drug that researchers say has modest benefits at best, and according to this study, could unnecessarily keep patients in the hospital.

Go deeper

Oct 16, 2021 - Health

Pope Francis calls on companies to release COVID vaccine patents

Pope Francis. Photo: Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pope Francis called on pharmaceutical companies on Saturday to release patents to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible to the poor, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: There is a stark divide between countries that have access to COVID-19 shots and those that don't, and the gap has widened as some wealthier countries have begun distributing third doses.

Oct 16, 2021 - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Photo: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.

Oct 17, 2021 - Health

Fauci: J&J recipients will likely be able to mix and match boosters

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely allow recipients of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 to mix and match vaccine boosters depending on their individual health, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told ABC News' '"This Week" on Sunday.

Why it matters: The FDA's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed booster shots for adult recipients of the J&J vaccine. The panel is also exploring the mix and match strategy but hasn't yet taken a formal vote on the matter.