An experimental HIV drug that has been used to successfully treat COVID-19 patients is in its second phase of testing with the Food and Drug Administration and could potentially be approved for use in four weeks, its manufacturer says.
Leronlimab, made by the biotech company CytoDyn, was used to treat a handful of severely ill patients in New York City hospitals; a couple were able to be removed from their ventilators.
“I think the FDA will be willing to work with us,” CytoDyn CEO Nader Pourhassan told The Post.
“I am hoping it will be expedited … I don’t see how the FDA couldn’t approve it.”
Pourhassan added: “With a study in China indicating the mortality rate among COVID-19 patients requiring mechanical ventilators at more than 85 percent, the world desperately needs a therapy that can help this patient population.
Initial studies suggest leronlimab can reduce the overactive immune response, known as a cytokine storm, that can be triggered by the coronavirus infection. Cytokine storms can result in pneumonia and even death.
“[I] cried for about five minutes. It was very, very emotional,” Pourhassan told Seattle’s KIRO 7 News after first learning of the results. “We’re hoping we can save millions of lives.”