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US buys up global stock of promising Covid-19 drug

Credit: Belga

The US government has bought up virtually all the global stock of remdesivir, one of the most promising drugs to treat Covid-19 patients, leaving nothing for Europe.

An agreement with biotech company Gilead Sciences provides for the purchase of drug doses for more than 500,000 treatments, according to the US Department of Health.

This corresponds to 100% of the planned production volume for July, and 90% for August and September.

Several studies have shown that the drug can shorten patients’ hospital stay.

“[The US] has got access to most of the drug supply, so there is nothing for Europe,” pharmaceutical expert Andrew Hill of the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom told The Guardian.

Gilead said to have agreed with the US government that unallocated parts of production “could be made available for other uses, including outside the United States.” Hospital needs will be closely monitored and evaluated every two weeks, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

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The cost is around $3,200 (approximately €2,843) per treatment course, according to the US government statement.

Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommend that the drug Veklury (remdesivir) be given a conditional marketing authorisation for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. A decision of the European Commission is expected later this week.

Remdesivir was originally developed for the treatment of Ebola, but was not effective enough. So far, it has not been approved as a drug in any country in the world.

As of Wednesday, the US has recorded more than 2.7 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, and over 130,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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