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The UK Government has announced that some adults and adolescents hospitalised with Covid-19 on the National Health Service (NHS) will have access to Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir.
The announcement comes after the country’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provided positive scientific opinion under the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS).
Currently, remdesivir will only be given to patients who meet certain clinical criteria to help their recovery in hospital. Due to limited supplies, the drug will be prioritised for patients who have the greatest likelihood of experiencing the most benefit.
The UK government will work with Gilead to supply remdesivir to NHS. The drug will continue to be available for participants in clinical trials, which are ongoing worldwide, including the UK.
Early data revealed that the drug can shorten the time to recovery by approximately four days. Results showed a 31% faster time to recovery in patients treated with Gilead’s drug versus placebo. The median time to recovery was 11 days versus 15 days, respectively.
UK Minister for Innovation Lord Bethell said: “This shows fantastic progress. As we navigate this unprecedented period, we must be on the front foot of the latest medical advancements, while always ensuring patient safety remains a top priority.
“The latest, expert scientific advice is at the heart of every decision we make, and we will continue to monitor remdesivir’s success in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for UK patients.”
Earlier this month, the drug secured similar authorisations to treat Covid-19 infection in the US and Japan.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorisation (EUA), while the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) provided accelerated approval under the brand name Veklury.