The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has approved the use of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug originally developed to treat Ebola, for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The treatment, which is given through an IV in hospital is said to prevent SARS CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) from multiplying in the body, with some patients recovering faster after using it.
President Donald Trump is the most high-profile coronavirus patient known to have been treated with remdesivir. He received it while recovering from his infection at Walter Reed Military Hospital in Maryland.
It had been authorised for use in the US on an emergency basis since spring, after which it bought up almost the entire world’s supply, but has now become the first drug to win full approval in the country for treating COVID-19.
This is despite a global study by the World Health Organisation finding last week that remdesivir did not help patients survive or recover faster.
However, a study by the US National Institutes of Health found the drug cut the time to recovery by five days – from 15 days to 10 on average.