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Actor Mel Gibson reportedly spent a week in the hospital back in April after testing positive for COVID-19.
Gibson fell ill from the virus in April but news of his coronavirus battle had not surfaced until the Australian news outlet, The Daily Telegraph, reported on it. A representative for the 64-year-old star told People magazine that he has made a full recovery after being treated with the drug remdesivir during his hospitalization.
“He tested positive in April and spent a week in the hospital,” Gibson’s representative said in a statement. “He was treated with the drug remdesivir, while in the hospital, and has tested negative numerous times since then as well as positive for the antibodies.”
The “Braveheart” star, who was reportedly seen with girlfriend Rosalind Ross at a California grocery store in March, tested positive for coronavirus just a few weeks after fellow actor Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson were diagnosed.
Hanks recently told The Guardian that he and his wife “had very different reactions” to the virus as they quarantined in Australia where they had been filming.
“My wife lost her sense of taste and smell, she had severe nausea, she had a much higher fever than I did,” the 64-year-old star recalled. “I just had crippling body aches, I was very fatigued all the time and I couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than about 12 minutes.”
“When we were in the hospital, I said, ‘I’m 63, I have type 2 diabetes, I had a stent in my heart — am I a red flag case?’ But as long as our temperatures did not spike, and our lungs did not fill up with something that looked like pneumonia, they were not worried,” he said. “I’m not one who wakes up in the morning wondering if I’m going to see the end of the day or not. I’m pretty calm about that.”
Though remdesivir is still considered an experimental drug the treatment against COVID-19, it has been shown in some studies to help coronavirus patients recover faster. The anti-viral drug has been used to treat Ebola for many years and, in May, President Donald Trump announced that it had been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use to treat COVID-19.
According to CBS News:
The patent on remdesivir is held by the original manufacturer, California-based pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences. In June, the Trump administration struck a deal with Gilead to secure its next three months’ worth of remdesivir production (500,000 doses) for U.S. hospitals. The controversial purchase came as the U.S. saw coronavirus cases soar into the millions.
The medication, referred to by The New York Times as “the first drug shown to be effective against the coronavirus,” has experienced some manufacturing delays which have also fueled an illegal market in countries such as India, according to CBS News.
With almost 1.2 million cases and over 28,000 deaths in the country, India’s surge in COVID-19 has apparently created an illegal market in remdesivir.
“There is not enough remdesivir in the world at the moment… and it’s a difficult drug to make — it takes time,” Dr. Andrew Hill, a senior visiting research fellow at the University of Liverpool’s pharmacology department, told CBS News. “I would say countries should prioritize the use of much cheaper and as effective drug, dexamethasone.”
Other prominent celebrity names have joined Gibson, Hanks and Wilson on the list of those who battled the virus in some form. Actor Idris Elba announced he had tested positive back in March, and singer Marianne Faithfull was treated for COVID-19 in a hospital in London back in April. The U.K.’s Prince Charles also tested positive in March. Country folk musician John Prine and Broadway star Nick Cordero lost their lives from the deadly virus.
Comedian Kathy Griffin infamously announced she was stuck in a hospital coronavirus isolation ward in March but could not get tested for COVID-19 “because of CDC (Pence task force) restrictions.” She later clarified that she had been sent back home to take medication to treat an abdominal infection.
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