14 May 2020

STAT publishes an opinion piece suggesting that Gilead prioritize development of a pro-drug, GS-441524, based on favorable pre-clinical data. The body converts GS-441524 into the active compound of remdesivir in three steps rather than the seven steps that remdesivir requires. It is also easier and faster to produce than remdesivir and smaller, which could enable an inhalable formulation. The writers noted the longer patent life of remdesivir (its first patent was issued in 2017) versus GS-441524, which was initially patented in 2009, saying that they were “…left to wonder why Gilead isn’t giving it the same attention it is giving remdesivir. The world can only hope it isn’t for the sake of protecting its intellectual property.” GS-441524 cures, feline infectious peritonitis, a fatal coronavirus, but Gilead has refused to license it for use in animals, for fear that it could interfere with an earlier effort to secure FDA approval for remdesivir as an Ebola treatment. Source 1,2
• UNAIDS issues a call for a “people’s vaccine”, asking governments and their partners to ensure that safe and effective vaccines are produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, globally and free of charge (as well as all treatments, diagnostics, and other technologies for COVID-19). Source

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