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The Trump administration has barred Anthony Fauci, the scientist who’s leading the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, from testifying before a congressional hearing next Wednesday. Fauci had been sought as a witness for a House Appropriations Committee subcommittee that was looking into the U.S. response to the pandemic, according to Evan Hollander, a committee spokesman.
“We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying,” Hollander said on Friday afternoon. The White House later confirmed that Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, would not be appearing.
Gilead Sciences Inc.’s antiviral drug remdesivir was cleared by U.S. regulators for emergency use in Covid-19 patients, becoming the first medication backed by early clinical data to be made available to fight the novel coronavirus. Remdesivir reduced the time it took hospitalized Covid-19 patients to recover in an interim analysis of an ongoing study. The Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency-use authorization, President Donald Trump said on Friday, a step by which the agency can allow products to be used without full data on their safety and efficacy.
Gilead shares closed down 4.8% on Friday at $79.95 in New York. The company has faced questions from investors about how it plans to make money on the drug, but its stock is still up 23% this year, at a time when the rest of the market has cratered. “This was lighting speed in terms of getting something approved,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, speaking with Trump. “From clinical trial to getting it authorized, it was 90 days.”
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