SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The FDA plans to announce the emergency use authorization for remdesivir, the experimental antiviral drug being tested to treat patients with COVID-19, a senior administration official tells the New York Times.

The announcement comes hours after biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences revealed preliminary results of the government-run drug trial show remdesivir is effective in treating the virus.

Remdesivir would be the first treatment to pass such a test against the virus, which has killed more than 220,000 people worldwide since it emerged late last year.

Gilead Sciences and the U.S. government reported that in a major study, remdesivir shortened the time it takes for COVID-19 patients to recover by four days on average -from 15 days to 11. Also, a trend toward fewer deaths was seen among those on the drug, Fauci said.

“What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert. “This will be the standard of care.”

An effective treatment could have a profound effect on the outbreak, since a vaccine is probably a year or more away.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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