Why am I so pessimistic? Because as things stand now, remdesivir will have little or no impact on our (new) daily lives – social distancing, mask use, and fear… Most likely it will be just a better option for people who are already ill and have been hospitalized by COVID-19, and only by four days. Don’t get me wrong; the decreased hospital stay (and the lower mortality rate, should the numbers hold up) is not insignificant for those who are already ill enough to be hospitalized. I just don’t see any way that remdesivir will keep people out of the hospital at this time, so in this sense, the drug has failed.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID had a more positive take on the data. He noted that remdesivir provides a proof of concept that an antiviral drug can treat COVID – something he calls “encouraging.” He is not wrong; it is encouraging that we have an “off the shelf” drug that is able to inhibit coronavirus, but his comparison to campaign to discover drugs for AIDS that troubles me.