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WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday called on U.S. health regulators to expedite potential therapies aimed at treating COVID-19 amid the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, saying it could lead to a breakthrough while a vaccine is still under development.
Trump, speaking at a news conference, pointed to efforts on Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir and the generic antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, saying he had called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to streamline its regulatory approval process.
“We have to remove every barrier,” Trump said.
Trials on potential coronavirus therapies are already in the works, and it was unclear how Trump’s call for faster experimental testing process could further expedite an effective treatment.
“It could be a game changer or maybe not,” Trump told reporters.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said his agency was working quickly to examine all possibilities.
“In the short term, we’re looking at drugs that are already approved for other indications,” Hahn said.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Susan Heavey Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Shumaker