The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended the anti-viral drug remdesivir be authorised for use to treat patients with COVID-19 in the European Union.

“Remdesivir is the first COVID-19 drug to be recommended for authorisation in the EU,” the agency said in a statement.

EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) said it would be tested on adults and adolescents from 12 years of age with pneumonia who require supplemental oxygen.

Remdesivir has been touted by US President Donald Trump and other health officials as one of the more promising drugs to fight COVID-19.

A study conducted in April showed patients with coronavirus treated with the antiviral drug remdesivir recovered in 11 days compared to 15 days for those who received a placebo.

It meant patients treated with the drug had a 31 per cent faster recovery time than those who received a placebo.

The study, sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health, began in February and included 1,063 patients in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Remdesivir interferes with an enzyme that helps RNA viruses to replicate and has been shown to be successful against coronaviruses in laboratory studies.

It was initially developed to help treat Ebola during the outbreak in West Africa.

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