Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) CEO Daniel O'Day announced on Monday that his company will soon begin a phase 1 clinical trial evaluating an inhaled version of remdesivir as a treatment for patients with COVID-19. The biotech plans to screen healthy volunteers beginning this week with the goal of initiating clinical testing in early-stage COVID-19 patients in August.

Currently, remdesivir is administered to hospitalized COVID-19 patients through intravenous infusion. Gilead thinks that an inhaled version of the drug that patients could take using a nebulizer would be easier to administer outside a hospital setting, and could be given to patients earlier in the course of the illness.

Jigsaw puzzle with "remdesivir drug" printed on one piece and COVID-19 printed on three empty spots

Image source: Getty Images.

The company announced last week that it will soon begin a phase 2/3 clinical study evaluating the IV infusion version of remdesivir in treating pediatric patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Gilead also plans to test the drug using IV infusions in outpatient settings such as infusion centers and nursing homes.

In addition to these clinical trials, results from several studies evaluating remdesivir in combination with other therapies should be on the way over the next few months. One of these studies focuses on a combination of remdesivir and Eli Lilly's Olumiant, while another is testing the combination of remdesivir and Roche's Actemra.

The various studies are necessary because, at this point, the FDA has not approved remdesivir. It did, however, choose to allow doctors to administer the investigational antiviral drug to COVID-19 patients under an emergency use authorization.