Japan approves Gilead Sciences' remdesivir as COVID-19 drug

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday it has authorized the emergency use of the drug for those hospitalized with severe illness caused by the virus.

Gilead said it was working to build a consortium of manufacturing partners to help maximize global supply of the drug, which requires scarce raw materials and specialized manufacturing capabilities with limited global capacity.

Close coordination of remdesivir manufacturing will be critical.

With no other approved treatments for Covid-19, interest in the drug is growing around the world.

Following last week's announcements and counter notifications, Gilead is the first company to receive marketing authorization for an anti-COVID-19 drug.

Anthony Fauci, head of the US Department of Health, said that while the Gilead data needs to be further analyzed, the firm has shown that this drug can be effective against coronavirus.

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However, a steady rise in cases has put pressure on medical facilities in some parts of the country, and drug that helps patients recover more quickly could help in freeing up hospital beds.

A study of 1,063 patients, some of whom received a placebo, in hospitals around the world showed that the drug shortened the recovery time by 31 percent - from 15 to 11 days, the BBC reports.

Japan's health ministry has approved remdesivir as the country's first antiviral drug to treat coronavirus patients.

Gilead said it is in negotiations with companies to, under voluntary licenses, produce remdesivir through at least 2022, and with Medicines Patent Pool to license the drug in developing countries.

'This is very optimistic, the mortality rate trended towards being better in the sense of less deaths in the REM designate group. This has already been authorised by the Spanish Medicines and Health Products Agency.

The California company got US approval on Friday for use of remdesivir on an emergency basis.

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