In a news release on Friday, the FDA said it has issued the EUA for “treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease.”
The FDA acknowledged there is “limited information” so far about how effective or safe the drug is.
Preliminary results from a 1,063-patient clinical trial by the U.S. National Institutes of Health showed that patients given remdesivir recovered in a shorter than those given a placebo.
Remdesivir: Drug shows promise as COVID-19 treatment
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar hailed the FDA announcement as a “significant step” in the efforts to find a treatment for COVID-19, which so far has no approved treatment or vaccine.
An emergency use authorization by the FDA – which is temporary — is not the same as drug approval. An EUA is meant to provide access to medicine in an emergency.
Remdesivir is an experimental drug, delivered intravenously, that essentially works to inhibit an enzyme – polymerase – in the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. As Dr. Matthias Gotte described it to Global News, the enzyme is the engine of the virus that allows it to replicate and spread – and remdesivir works to stop that spread.
The full data from the U.S. has yet to go through peer review. Dr. Rob Fowler from Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital told Global News on Thursday that it’s too early to read into the results about remdesivir so far.
“I would say so far it’s hard to tell from results in the U.S., because we’re really waiting to see the full results and have some peer review of the findings,” he said.
Coronavirus outbreak: Trump, Fauci hopeful about Gilead’s COVID-19 drug Remdesivir
Another study on remdesivir, out of China and based on a smaller number of patients, showed the drug did not shorten recovery time in critically ill patients. The authors of that study did warn that their findings were limited because the trial ended early — there weren’t enough patients once cases in China sharply decreased. The conclusion was that more evidence from clinical trials is necessary.
In a statement Friday, the drug manufacturer behind remdesivir – Gilead Science Inc. – noted the EUA is based on “available data from two global clinical trials.”
Ongoing clinical trials are still studying the “optimal duration of treatment.” The EUA allows for five-day and 10-day treatment durations, depending on how severe the disease is in a patient.
“The U.S. government will coordinate the donation and distribution of remdesivir to hospitals in cities most heavily impacted by COVID-19,” the company said in the statement.
Gilead has previously announced that it has donated its existing supply of “finished and unfinished product” – 1.5 million individual doses, for more than 140,000 treatment courses — to help combat the pandemic.
Coronavirus outbreak: Drug shows promise in treating COVID-19
The company aims to produce at least half a million treatment courses by October 2020 and one million by the end of the year, according to Reuters.
During a meeting in the Oval Office with U.S. President Donald Trump, Gilead chief executive Daniel O’Day said the company would donate 1.5 million vials of the drug.
“We’re humbled by this being an important first step for … hospitalized patients. We want to make sure nothing gets in the way of these patients getting the medicine, so we made a decision to donate about 1.5 million vials,” he said.
The company’s Canadian division, Gilead Sciences Canada Inc., is in talks with Health Canada about remdesivir.
“Multiple studies are still ongoing to inform the safety and efficacy of this investigational drug,” the company said in an email Friday night.
“If supported by the data, our intent would be to seek expedited regulatory review and approval for remdesivir in Canada.”
— With files by Reuters
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
B.C. has lost more than 353,000 jobs since pandemic began – CBC.ca
B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said more than 353,000 jobs have been lost provincewide since the pandemic began, with more than 30 per cent of those losses affecting young people.
James said Friday the province’s youth unemployment rates reached roughly 28.7 per cent last month. The minister said young people have been “severely impacted” during the pandemic because they work in the industries hardest hit by the economic slowdown: accommodation, food service, wholesale and retail.
“Those sectors still continue to lead all other industries in job losses, making up 46 per cent of the total jobs lost,” James said Friday.
“We have to remember that those numbers are families. They’re individuals. They’re small businesses who have struggled and continue to struggle as we move into recovery.”
Around 115,000 of the 353,000 positions lost in B.C. in recent months were jobs held by young people.
Statistics Canada said Friday unemployment rate in B.C. rose 1.9 percentage points to 13.4 per cent, up from 11.5 per cent in April.
B.C. did gain 43,300 jobs back in May, James said. The provincial government began easing public health restrictions last month, leading businesses to reopen and more people into the job hunt.
“I think we see some glimmers of hope … when you see the number of jobs that actually were created. It doesn’t touch the loss of jobs, the huge number of loss of jobs over this time period, but I think it does show that you’re starting to see some confidence in the economy,” said James.
“In the coming months, we hope to see more positive results as our economic recovery starts to take shape.
James noted more than 521,000 people have applied for B.C.’s Emergency Benefit for Workers since applications opened on May 1. The benefit provides a one-time payment of $1,000 for residents whose work has been impacted by the pandemic.
Statistics Canada said the national unemployment rate in May rose to 13.7 per cent, the highest level in more than 40 years of comparable data. The previous record of 13.1 per cent was set in December 1982.
The agency said Canada’s economy added 290,000 jobs in May, replacing about 10 per cent of the jobs it lost to COVID-19.
The monthly labour force survey showed that men gained back more jobs than women last month, resulting in a wider gender gap in employment losses as a result of COVID-19, and that the pandemic continued to disproportionately affect lower-wage workers.
OPEC and allies reportedly agree to extend record production cut – CNBC
An OPEC sign hangs outside the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna, Austria, on Nov. 29, 2017.
Akos Stiller | Bloomberg | Getty Images
OPEC and its oil-producing allies reportedly agreed to extend the historic 9.7 million barrels per day production cut that was set to expire at the end of June, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The cut will be extended through the end of July, and the group is expected to confirm the agreement at its meeting on Saturday, which kicked off a little before 8:30 a.m. ET.
The closely watched meeting was initially scheduled for June 9-10, but was pulled forward after Iraq agreed to comply with its quota.
On Friday West Texas Intermediate jumped 5.72% to settle at $39.55, while international benchmark Brent crude gained 5.78% to settle at $42.30. It was each contract’s sixth straight week of gains, and the highest settle since March 6.
“OPEC+ looks set to formally announce a one-month deal extension at [Saturday’s] ministerial meeting,” said Helima Croft, RBC’s global head of commodities strategy. “Nevertheless, there could be some last minute theatrics at the virtual gathering and we suspect that some individual producer performance will still be less than perfect on a go-forward basis.”
Under the current agreement, which was set during an extraordinary multi-day meeting in April, the 23-member group cut production by 9.7 million bpd beginning May 1 and through the end of June. The cuts would then begin to taper. From July through the end of 2020, 7.7 million bpd would be taken offline, followed by 5.8 million bpd from January 2021 through April 2022.
The cut — the largest in history — came as oil demand fell off a cliff due to the coronavirus pandemic. The International Energy Agency estimates that about one quarter of demand was sapped in April as billions of people around the world stayed home in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19. The hit to demand came as producers continued to pump oil, which sent WTI tumbling into negative territory for the first time on record, while Brent fell to a 20-year low.
Since then, prices have steadily climbed higher as economies begin to reopen and as producers further rein in output. In the U.S., production has fallen from a record 13.1 million bpd in March to 11.2 million bpd, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. WTI is still about 40% below its January high of $65.65, however.
“Although small in scale, this cut is however important in squaring the group’s strategy, which has this year alone swung from price focused cuts, to market-share recapture, to internal price war to finally a record large cut,” Goldman Sachs’ Damien Courvalin wrote in a note to clients Friday.
– CNBC’s Brian Sullivan and Michael Bloom contributed reporting.
Unemployment rate increases in Alberta despite more jobs: StatCan – CTV News
Alberta gained 28,000 jobs in the month of May, according to the latest Labour Force Survey released Friday morning from Statistics Canada.
The increase in employment follows a cumulative decline of 361,000 jobs from February to April.
Alberta’s job increases were entirely driven by the services-producing sector after the province allowed some businesses such as restaurants and non-essential shops to reopen as of May 14.
The unemployment rate in the province increased by 2.1 percentage points to 15.5 per cent, which is now the second highest in the country behind Newfoundland and Labrador at 16.3 per cent.
Nationwide, the average rate of unemployment is now 13.7 per cent, topping the previous high of 13.1 per cent set back in December 1982.
Canada added a total of 290,000 jobs across the country. According to Statistics Canada data, the total number of hours worked is increasing at a faster pace than employment.
Total hours worked across all industries grew by 6.3 per cent in May, compared with an increase of 1.8 per cent (290,000 jobs) in employment.
Alberta Economic Recovery Plan
In response to one of the most dramatic economic downturns in Alberta’s history, the provincial government will start rolling out an economic recovery plan later this month focused on cultivating key industries.
Premier Jason Kenney said last week that Alberta’s strategy will take a “pedal to the metal” approach to diversification after a steep decline in the price of oil.
On Monday, Finance Minister Travis Toews announced that his financial blueprint will be centred on growing sectors such as energy, agriculture, technology and petrochemical manufacturing.
A recent study from the Conference Board of Canada projects Alberta will see its economy shrink by 6.8 per cent this year.
Toews called that report realistic and noted the downturn will be measured in months not weeks.
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