The Food and Drug Administration has approved the antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
The approval was announced Thursday by the drug’s maker, Gilead Sciences, which touted it as the first coronavirus treatment to win the agency’s full go-ahead.
Remdesivir — which Gilead s now calling “Veklury” — gained widespread attention when President Trump received a five-dose course of after he contracted the coronavirus three weeks ago.
The drug is administered intravenously over five days, and was initially developed by Gilead to fight ebola.
A recent, preliminary-stage clinical trial by the World Health Organization found that remdesivir had no substantial effect on COVID-19 survival, but other studies had rosier results.
The drug received emergency-use FDA approval in May after a trial by the U.S. National Institutes of Health showed it cut coronavirus recovery time from 15 days to 11.
“This is very optimistic,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said of the drug at the time.
Ampoules of the antiviral drug Remdesivir.EPA
Some 50 countries worldwide have also approved remdesivir’s use, the company said.
Trump recovered after three days in Walter Reed Naitonal Military Medical Center. In addition to remdesivir, he was treated with an experimental anti-body infusion and the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone.