Jul 03, 2020 15:32 UTC
  • EU gives conditional approval for use of COVID-19 anti-viral remdesivir

The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, on Friday authorized the use of anti-viral drug remdesivir to treat the new coronavirus.

"Today's authorization of a first medicine to treat COVID-19 is an important step forward in the fight against this virus," EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a statement.

"We are granting this authorization less than a month after the application was submitted, showing clearly the EU's determination to respond quickly whenever new treatments become available," she said.

At least two major US studies have shown that remdesivir can reduce the duration of hospital stays for COVID-19 patients.

Washington authorized the emergency use of the medicine -- which was originally intended as a treatment for Ebola -- on May 1, followed by several Asian nations including Japan and South Korea.

The green light comes on the recommendation of the European Medicines Agency which gave its conditional authorization last week for the treatment of patients above 12 years of age who are suffering pneumonia and require extra oxygen.

It said its assessment was based mainly on data from a study sponsored by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The research, published in the leading journal the New England Journal of Medicine in May, showed that injections of remdesivir speeded patient recovery compared with a placebo.

On average it reduced patients' hospital stays from 15 days to 11.

More than 11.019 million people have been infected globally and more than 520,000 have died since the COVID-19 disease first emerged in China.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on June 26 warned about a "significant resurgence" of cases of the new coronavirus in nearly a dozen European nations, saying the risk of another outbreak has now become a “reality.”

WHO regional director for Europe Hans Henri Kluge said in a statement, “For weeks I have spoken about the risk of resurgence as countries adjust to measures.”

MG

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