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Ex-FDA Chief Gottlieb Expects Coronavirus Therapeutic Option By Summer

Jayson Derrick

The U.S. took a step forward in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic by taking steps to eventually slow the spread of the virus, former FDA head Scott Gottlieb said Friday evening on CNBC.

What Happened

April will prove to be a "tough month," but the country is prepared to "get through it" and the epidemic curve should start improving in May, Gottlieb said.

Multiple cities like New Orleans, Detroit and Miami will need to manage their own outbreaks. This does show that the coronavirus outbreak is not limited to any one single epicenter. Some of the "more optimistic models" suggest the virus will peak in mid-April, but a more realistic timeline places the peak two or so weeks later, he said.

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Why It's Important

Hope is underway after a recent study has found plasma derived from people who were sick with the coronavirus and given to new sick patients is showing a "therapeutic benefit." While the study is small with just five patients it represents a "pretty dramatic result."

The findings are also supportive of antibodies that companies like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: REGN) are working on, Gottlieb said. Gilead Sciences, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GILD) remdesivir could prove to have an antiviral effect as well.

"This isn't a hard virus to drug, there's nothing really complex about how this virus replicates," he said.

Gottlieb said he has "confidence" there will be a therapeutic option available to the public as early as the summer. In addition, the population could see a "much broader" screening strategy to prevent outbreaks.

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