United States buys almost all stocks of coronavirus drug remdesivir

S. Korea begins using remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment

South Korea has started distributing stocks of the COVID-19 treatment remdesivir that have been donated by Gilead Sciences Inc and plans to begin talks to purchase more supplies in August, its disease control agency said on Wednesday.

The United States has bought almost all the available global supplies for the next three months of anti-viral drug remdesivir, one of two drugs that have proven to be effective against COVID-19.

As per an announcement made by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) over 500,000 doses of the drug has been bought by the country from its sole manufacturer Gilead Sciences.

That represents 100 per cent of Gilead's projected production for July, and 90 per cent for each of the next two months.

Patient advocates argue that the cost should be lower as Remdesivir was developed with significant financial support from the United States government.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a report saying that COVID-19 patients who received remdesivir recovered faster than similar patients who received a placebo.

"The Trump administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for COVID-19 and secure access to these options for the American people", he added.

The US's decision to stockpile the drug means there will likely be little supply in the rest of the world for months.

The intravenously administered medicine has won emergency-use authorization in several countries and full approval in Japan after a clinical trial showed it helped shorten hospital stays.

A treatment course of remdesivir is, on average, 6.25 vials.

Remdesivir had previously failed as an Ebola treatment and has not shown that it can reduce coronavirus deaths.

On Monday, Gilead said it would price remdesivir at $2,340 per patient in the United States and other wealthier nations.



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