Currently, there are intensive reports on the active Remdesivir from the US pharmaceutical giant Gilead. Chemically, the substance is a 1′-cyano 4-aza-7,9-didesazaadenosine C analogue of adenosine:

Showing the molecular structure of 1′-cyano 4-aza-7,9-didesazaadenosine C analogue of adenosine

It is a monophosphoramidate prodrug that is converted by metabolism into the active form GS-441524. GS-441524 inhibits viral RNA polymerase and prevents further proliferation of the virus in infected cells by breaking the chain during RNA replication. Originally, Gilead had developed the substance to combat filoviruses, in particular Ebola and Marburg.

Referring to the STAT health portal, SPIEGEL reports that corona patients in a Chicago hospital who were treated daily with Remdesivir quickly recovered from fever and respiratory symptoms. Almost all patients could have left the hospital within a week, only two patients died. A total of 125 people with Covid 19 disease in Chicago have participated in two Phase 3 trials of Remdesivir, 113 of whom were seriously ill. The studies presented by the University of Chicago are considered encouraging, but there is a lack of comparative trials with placebo groups. Remdesivir is not yet officially approved for any indication.

Gilead has remdesivir protected in more than 70 states around the world. The European patent EP 3212174 B1 was granted on 16.05.2018 and expires in 2035. It protects the substance and its use in the therapy of filovirus infections.

There are already shouts that Gilead should let the patent rest („patents kill“). This is the only way to ensure the supply of the world population with affordable active substances. This ignores the fact that it is possible practically everywhere in the world to force patent holders to grant compulsory licenses in the interest of public health.

The patent system will therefore not contribute to the end of the world.