The threat of Covid-19 will begin to look a little better when we have effective treatments to offer ill patients. And the sooner they can pass the critical safety and effectiveness tests, the better.
Several companies have drugs in varying stages of testing and development. All medications have to run a gauntlet before approval is granted: Laboratory promise, patient safety tests, efficacy tests including dosing and timing of use, outcomes, and then if promising, the manufacturing and distribution process has to be built or built out. Billions of dollars are being invested by leading pharma and universities around the world in lots of drug investigations and developments.
Right now, Remdesivir is emerging as a leading a candidate, probably because Gilead Sciences has been studying the drug (or similar) for ten years for the treatment of SARS, MERS, and Ebola. In all of those diseases, the drug was only marginally effective, but the drug was proven generally safe for use in humans. Given that it works by disrupting the RNA replication of a different coronavirus, it seemed a likely candidate to be tried given the exigencies of the pandemic.
Several clinical trials of Remdesivir are underway around the world. They are studying several things simultaneously (which is not how science normally works): What is the correct dose? If the drug is given IV, how does it reach the airways? When should the drug be given (early or late in the disease)? Does it change the clinical outcome, and if so, how and how much?
We are all watching science and drug development proceed. This is a process, and yes setbacks are an expected part of the process. We have to know that any treatment is reasonably safe and how and when to give it to get the desired outcome. Given the severity of the infection, society is likely to accept some compromises along the way. At least we are moving forward.