Sat | Dec 5, 2020

FDA approves first COVID-19 drug: The antiviral remdesivir

Published:Friday | October 23, 2020 | 12:13 AM
In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, rubber stoppers are placed on to filled vials of the investigational drug remdesivir at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States.
In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, rubber stoppers are placed on to filled vials of the investigational drug remdesivir at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug to treat COVID-19: remdesivir, an antiviral medicine given through an IV for patients needing hospitalisation.

The drug, which California-based Gilead Sciences Inc is calling Veklury, cuts the time to recovery by five days – from 15 days to 10, on average – in a large study led by the US National Institutes of Health.

It had been authorised for use on an emergency basis since spring, and now has become the first drug to win full US approval for treating COVID-19.

Gilead says Veklury is approved for people at least 12 years old and weighing at least 88 pounds (40 kilograms) who need hospitalisation for their coronavirus infection. It works by inhibiting a substance the virus uses to make copies of itself.