May 1, 2020 - Health

FDA grants emergency authorization of remdesivir to treat coronavirus

In this image, a masked man stands next to a sign for Gilead

The Gilead Sciences headquarters on April 29 in Foster City, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized emergency use of remdesivir to treat the novel coronavirus, but this is not an official regulatory approval of the medication.

Why it matters: The drug helped COVID-19 patients get out of the hospital modestly quicker, based on early reads of a trial run by the National Institutes of Health, Axios' Bob Herman reports. But it does not significantly reduce death, per preliminary NIH data.

What they're saying: "There is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19. Remdesivir was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the time to recovery in some people. There are no medicines approved by the FDA as safe and effective to treat people in the hospital who have COVID-19," the FDA wrote in a fact sheet released on Friday.

Go deeper: Gilead's remdesivir shows limited benefit for coronavirus

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