April 06, 2020
The jury is out on my effectiveness against COVID-19.
What molecule am I?
Image of Remdesivir 3D Image of Remdesivir

Remdesivir is an antivirus drug that was developed by Gilead Sciences (Foster City, CA) to combat the West African Ebola virus disease epidemic in the mid-2010s. It has also shown activity against the hemorrhagic fever Marburg virus (MARV), the Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-coV), and the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-coV).

Within months after the outbreak of the current COVID-19 viral pandemic, researchers began to evaluate the ability of remdesivir to overcome the corresponding virus, SARS-CoV-2. Of the five Phase III trials that have begun to date, two are being conducted in China, one by the US National Institutes of Health, and two by Gilead. All of these trials focus on patients who have severe and moderate cases of the disease.

The consensus in the medical community is that the trials won’t give definitive results. Researchers are optimistic, though, that remdesivir will help some patients. But according to H. Clifford Lane, the clinical director at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who is overseeing the NIH trial, “The studies might give us some hint, but I do think it will be important to get a study launched that focuses on early disease.”

In addition to the clinical trials, and because of remdesivir’s proven success against other viruses, it is being sought as a compassionate alternative for patients with COVID-19. The Washington Post recently featured an article about families who are seeking experimental treatments.

See the latest issue of Chemical & Engineering News for more extensive information on remdesivir clinical trials.

Remdesivir hazard information

Hazard class*Hazard statement
Not a hazardous substance or mixture 

 *Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

MOTW update: December 7, 2020

Baricitinib was the Molecule of the Week for March 2, 2020. It is a janus kinase inhibitor that initially showed promise against rheumatoid arthritis. This past February, researchers reported that it may limit the effects of COVID-19 by attacking a specific enzyme in the virus. On November 19, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the combination and remdesivir “for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in hospitalized adults and pediatric patients two years of age or older requiring supplemental oxygen, invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.”

Remdesivir fast facts

CAS Reg. No.1809249-37-3
L-Alanine, N-[(S)-hydroxyphenoxy-phosphinyl]-, 2-ethylbutyl ester, 6-ester with 2-C-(4-aminopyrrolo[2,1-f][1,2,4]triazin-7-yl)-2,5-anhydro-D-altrononitrile
Empirical formulaC27H35N6O8P
Molar mass602.58 g/mol
AppearanceWhite to off-white crystalline powder
Melting pointN/A
Water solubilityVery slightly soluble
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Learn more about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.

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