Gilead’s coronavirus treatment is already being used in Washington state

March 10, 2020, 8:34 PM UTC

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Gilead’s experimental drug remdesivir has been touted by public health officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the most—if not the most—promising antivirals to fight the new coronavirus strain.

CDC director Robert Redfield added to the buzz on Tuesday, stating that that Gilead’s pathogen-fighting COVID-19 treatment is already being deployed in Washington state, where the virus had claimed nearly two dozen lives as of Monday.

Redfield, during Congressional testimony before a House of Representatives committee regarding the CDC’s budget and spending priorities in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, said that “remdesivir is available right now on compassionate use,” in Washington. Preliminary results for the treatment’s effectiveness will likely become clearer in mere months, according to Redfield.

Compassionate use is an analogue of the Food and Drug Administration’s expanded access program, which speeds up access to treatments that haven’t received marketing approval to patients who may direly need them—especially in emergency situations.

That could include a patient who has “a serious disease or condition, or whose life is immediately threatened by their disease or condition,” according to the FDA. It appears that coronavirus cases, at least in hard-hit regions, clear that standard.

But Gilead’s therapy has rapidly progressed through the clinical trial process in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s already being used in human clinical trials in the U.S. on top of later-stage studies in other nations that are being affected by coronavirus.

Washington’s public health department and Gilead have not yet responded to Fortune‘s multiple requests for comment about how remdesivir is being used in the state.

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