Latest Pharmacy News: Remdesivir to be used on 'selected' Covid-19 cases

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"These preliminary findings support the use of remdesivir for patients who are hospitalized with Covid-19 and require supplemental oxygen therapy", the authors write.

Matt Hancock, speaking at Tuesday's daily coronavirus briefing, discussed the UK's trial of anti-viral drug remdesivir.

Remdesivir, is a broad-spectrum antiviral which was developed by pharmaceutical company Gilead more than a decade ago to cure an unknown "Disease X" amid fears that a global pandemic was looming. For the time being and due to limited supplies, treatment will be prioritised for patients who have the greatest likelihood of deriving the most benefit.

The drug is now undergoing clinical trials around the world, including in the United Kingdom, with early data showing it can shorten the time to recovery by about 4 days.

"Future strategies should evaluate antiviral agents in combination with other therapeutic approaches or combinations of antiviral agents to continue to improve patient outcomes in Covid-19".

The US and Japan have already made similar urgent arrangements to provide early access to the medicine before they have a marketing agreement.

"The latest, expert scientific advice is at the heart of every decision we make, and we will continue to monitor remdesivir's success in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for United Kingdom patients".

On the basis of findings that showed shortened time to recovery in the remdesivir group, the data and safety monitoring board recommended early unblinding of results.

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Innovation minister Lord Bethell said: "This shows fantastic progress".

Allocation of the drug, expected to be available immediately to hospitals across the United Kingdom, will be based on expert clinical advice.

"The latest, expert scientific advice is at the heart of every decision we make, and we will continue to monitor remdesivir's success in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for United Kingdom patients".

He added that the EAMS allowed doctors and Gilead Science to collate real-world evidence about the effectiveness of remdesivir and its eventual authorisation if it is found help patients with COVID-19.

Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds said the drug is unaffected by safe guarding proteins, unlike other potential drugs out there.

In the United Kingdom, the Recovery trial looking at using this drug in patients remains open, but another one, using it in frontline NHS staff to prevent rather than treat infections, has paused recruiting more volunteers.

"It will likely mean that the most severe patients will receive it first".

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