FDA approves first drug to treat COVID-19

Covid Cure Pic
In this Gilead Sciences photo from March 2020, rubber stoppers are placed onto filled vials of the investigational drug remdesivir at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. (Associated Press photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved remdesivir as the first drug to treat COVID-19.
Its maker, Gilead Sciences Inc., said Thursday that the drug, which is an antiviral medicine given through an IV, is approved for people at least 12 years old who need hospitalization for their coronavirus infection.
The California-based company is calling the drug Veklury.
A large U.S. study found it cut the time to recovery by five days — from 15 days to 10 on average.
It has been authorized for use on an emergency basis since spring. It works by inhibiting a substance the virus uses to make copies of itself.
“We now have enough knowledge and a growing set of tools to help fight COVID-19,” said Dr. Merdad Parsey, Gilead’s chief medical officer.
The drug is either approved or has temporary authorization in about 50 countries, Parsey said in a statement.
Its price has been controversial, given that no studies have found it improves survival. Last week, a large study led by the World Health Organization found the drug did not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients, but that study did not include a placebo group and was less rigorous than previous ones that found a benefit.