Six years ago, a team of scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began researching dozens of compounds supplied by Gilead Sciences for use in combating different viruses. And they discovered that one compound, in particular, appeared effective in treating Ebola.
Their work helped make it possible for the company to obtain patents for the compound, which is now known famously as remdesivir. Although it never panned out as an elixir for Ebola, remdesivir has since become the first medication to win regulatory approval to treat some hospitalized Covid-19 patients. So far, the repurposed drug has yielded $873 million in sales, with most coming from the U.S.