The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug to treat COVID-19: remdesivir, an antiviral medicine given through an IV for patients needing hospitalization.
The drug, which California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. is calling Veklury, cut the time to recovery by five days — from 15 days to 10 on average — in a large study led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
It had been authorized for use on an emergency basis since spring, and now has become the first drug to win full U.S. 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 hospitalization for their coronavirus infection. It works by inhibiting a substance the virus uses to make copies of itself.
The FDA previously issued an emergency use authorization for the drug in May for the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with severe infections. In August, the FDA reduced restrictions of drug usage, allowing COVID-19 patients without severe infections to be treated with the drug.
The FDA’s approval on Thursday of the a New Drug Application (NDA) for remdesivir means that the administration believes the drug is safe and effective for its intended use based on evidence from early testing, preclinical and clinical trials.
The news comes as COVID-19 cases are on the rise throughout the U.S. -- including in Michigan.
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