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U.S. approves remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. regulators have approved the use of the first drug which appears to help coronavirus patients recover quicker.

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Topics: U.S.    CORONAVIRUS   

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the use of remdesivir, a drug previously used to treat ebola patients, after studies showed it shortened recovery time by 31 per cent, or around four days on average, for hospitalised coronavirus patients.

Those given the drug were able to leave the hospital in 11 days on average, compared to 15 days for the placebo group. The drug may also help avert deaths, but that effect is not yet large enough for scientists to know for sure.

The drug is can now be administered to patients with severe conditions, such as those experiencing breathing problems requiring supplemental oxygen or ventilators.

In normal times the FDA requires “substantial evidence” of a drug’s safety and effectiveness, usually through one or more large, rigorously controlled patient studies.

But during public health emergencies the agency can waive those standards and require only that an experimental treatment’s potential benefits outweigh its risks.


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