On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved the use of the antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The drug has been named Veklury, and it is said to cut the recovery time of coronavirus-stricken patients by five days. When using Veklury, patients now mostly need 10 days to recover, down from the typical 15 days.
It's been used on an emergency basis since May this year, but now can be used in hospital environments as a widespread treatment for COVID-19.
The WHO, however, has previously stated that remdesivir is largely ineffective when used as a treatment against COVID-19, per BBC.
What the FDA said
So much so that President Trump was administered it when he tested positive for COVID-19, wrote BBC.
NEW: Gilead Sciences has announced that the FDA has approved remdesivir for treating COVID-19. The antiviral drug becomes the first drug to receive full approval from the FDA for treatment against the coronavirus, according to the pharmaceutical company. https://t.co/FGiIkZOtPk pic.twitter.com/m9XIdaVMsE— WebMD (@WebMD) October 22, 2020
The FDA has approved the drug for use "in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least about 88 pounds (40 kilograms) for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization," as per its statement.
Moreover, Veklury should only be used in hospitals or "in a healthcare setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care."
The decision was taken after carefully analyzing three different "randomized, controlled" clinical trials.
What does the WHO have to say?
The WHO carried out its own clinical tests on four potential COVID-19 drugs, remdesivir was one of them. Each of the drugs was tested on 11,266 adult patients, across 500 hospitals and 30 different countries, per BBC.
The conclusion, that has yet to be peer-reviewed, was that none of the four drugs they tested showed any particular effect on mortality or on the amount of time spent in the hospital, including remdesivir.
Regardless, Gilead Sciences Inc., who manufactures remdesivir, is charging $2,340 for a regular treatment course of the drug for those with government health programs in the U.S. and certain other countries. Patients with private healthcare will pay $3,120. The total each patient pays will be dependent on their insurance coverage, per Associated Press.