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US approves antiviral drug remdesivir for covid-19 treatment

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now given emergency approval for the drug remdesivir to be used for coronavirus treatment.

US President Donald Trump who made the announcement said the move is very significant.

The CEO of Gilead, the company which developed the drug also described as an important first step and would donate 1.5 million vials of remdesivir.

The US government announced that distribution of the drug to hospitals would begin on Monday.

Remdesivir was originally developed as a treatment for Ebola 10 years ago at the peak of the outbreak in Africa.

It was developed purposely to destroy the Ebola virus and proofed effective though.

The drug approved by the US for the treatment of coronavirus

The drug cripples the RNA polymerase enzyme, stopping a virus from reproducing.

US experts say it was able to cut the duration of coronavirus symptoms from 15 to 11 days in one US trial involving hospitals around the world.

The trial was coordinated by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

1,063 people took part with some patients given the drug while others received a placebo (dummy) treatment.

Dr Anthony Fauci who is in charge of the NIAID said: “The data shows remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.”

Meanwhile in other parts of the world, different anti-viral drugs are being used for the coronavirus treatment.

Chloroquine – an antimalarial drug has been largely used in Africa and Asia.

It works in a different way and is given to people to prevent malaria infections if they are bitten by a mosquito carrying the parasite.

The drug works by salts inside them poisoning parasites and preventing them from  growing inside human red blood cells.

 

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