Remdesivir becomes the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19

Remdesivir becomes the first drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19

Remdesivir is the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for COVID-19, the agency said on Thursday.

The drug has been approved for all hospitalized COVID-19 patients aged 12 and over who weigh at least 88 pounds.

Remdesivir, which affects the multiplication of viruses in cells, received an emergency FDA clearance in May after a drug trial conducted by the National Institutes of Health showed a decrease in hospital admissions after treatment. The drug has not been shown to reduce mortality.

But the doctors stressed that the approval should not be taken as a sign of the drug's over-efficacy.

“This is not some miracle cure. — says Megan Rennie, assistant professor of emergency medicine and public health at Brown University — «We give it to hospitalized patients with COVID-19 because we have nothing better, and it's sad.»

A large international study published last week by the World Health Organization found remdesivir did not affect length of hospital stay or mortality.

Health experts criticized the WHO study, which involved 12,000 patients in hundreds of hospitals around the world, saying the treatments are probably too varied to draw definitive conclusions.

The antiviral drug, originally developed for the treatment of Ebola and hepatitis C, has nevertheless become widely used to treat hospitalized patients, often in the early stages of hospitalization. According to Rennie, unlike many other drugs, it is relatively well tolerated and has unusual side effects that are easy to detect. Thus, the potential benefits clearly outweigh the potential harm.

Another drug, the steroid dexamethasone, reduces the likelihood of death, but is only recommended for critically ill COVID-19 patients who require oxygen.

Last month, President Donald Trump was given both remdesivir and dexamethasone to treat coronavirus infection.