The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is fast-tracking drugs to treat COVID-19.
The Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program is designed to bring new therapies to COVID-19 patients as quickly as possible while supporting research to determine whether those therapies are safe and effective. The agency said that it was reviewing study protocols within 24 hours in many cases and reviewing expanded access requests within three hours.
"As part of this new program, the FDA is cutting red tape, redeploying staff and working day and night to review requests from companies, scientists and doctors who are working toward therapies. We are grateful to the men and women of the FDA who have been working in concert with industry and other parts of HHS to support potential coronavirus treatments for weeks now. Each day, President Trump's all-of-America approach is making progress and providing new hope in our fight against the coronavirus," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a press release.
There are 10 therapy in active trials and another 15 in planning stages, according to the agency.
Among them are Gilead's remdesivir and interleukin-6 which can help reduce lung inflammation and function in COVID-19 patients. Several hospitals across the country are also in trials to see if plasma from the blood of patients who have recovered from the virus could shorten the length or lessen the severity of the illness. The FDA also said it was evaluating whether chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can help treat patients with COVID-19.