Wednesday, 15 Jul 2020

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UK authorises anti-viral drug remdesivir

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Health Desk- May 27, 2020: A drug treatment that appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus is being made available on the NHS.

Remdesivir is an anti-viral medicine that has been used against Ebola and other emerging diseases, such as Mers.

UK regulators say there is enough evidence to approve its use in selected Covid-19 hospital patients.

For the time being and due to limited supplies, it will go to those most likely to benefit.

The US and Japan have already made similar urgent arrangements to provide early access to the medicine before they have a marketing agreement.

The drug is currently undergoing clinical trials around the world, including in the UK.

Early data suggests it can cut recovery time by about four days.

It is not clear how much stock pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences has available to treat UK patients.

Allocation of the intravenous drug will be based on the advice of doctors.

Minister for Innovation Lord Bethell said: "This shows fantastic progress. As we navigate this unprecedented period, we must be on the front foot of the latest medical advancements, while always ensuring patient safety remains a top priority.

"The latest, expert scientific advice is at the heart of every decision we make, and we will continue to monitor remdesivir's success in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for UK patients."

Dr Stephen Griffin from the University of Leeds Medical School, said it was perhaps the most promising anti-viral for coronavirus so far.

The World Health Organization says the temporary suspension is a precaution, after a recent medical study found the drug might increase the risk of death and heart rhythm complications.