Nurses screen patients for COVID-19 virus testing at a drive-up location outside Medstar St. Mary's Hospital on March 17, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Pharma company Bayer will soon make a large donation to the U.S. government of a drug that has shown some promise in helping patients suffering from the novel coronavirus, according to a senior Health and Human Services official and another source with direct knowledge.
Why it matters: It doesn't hurt to have a potential treatment on hand, but we're still a very long way from having an approved, clinically tested treatment for the coronavirus.
The big picture: Early evidence suggests that chloroquine — an inexpensive anti-malarial drug — may work just as well, if not even better, than remdesivir, a drug owned by Gilead, which is undergoing clinical trials for treatment of the coronavirus.
- A study published in Nature found that "remdesivir and chloroquine are highly effective in the control of 2019-nCoV infection in vitro."
- "Chloroquine shouldn’t be left out of the discussion of candidate COVID-19 therapies and may actually be leading the pack," Raymond James wrote in a research note earlier this month.
Yes, but: This doesn't change the need for massive coronavirus efforts, as there is no proven coronavirus treatment or vaccine.