Canada on Tuesday gave the green light for people with severe symptoms of COVID-19 to be treated with the anti-viral drug remdesivir.
“Remdesivir is the first drug that Health Canada has authorized for the treatment of COVID-19,” said the health ministry.
At least two major US studies have shown that remdesivir can reduce the duration of hospital stays for COVID-19 patients.
Washington authorized the emergency use of the medicine — which was originally intended as a treatment for Ebola — on May 1, followed by several Asian nations including Japan and South Korea.
Canada said Tuesday it can be used on COVID-19 patients who have pneumonia and need extra oxygen to help them breathe.
The doses used in Canada will be made by a unit of Gilead Sciences, the US pharmaceutical company that developed the drug.
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In early July, the European Commission also authorized use of remdesivir to treat the coronavirus.
As of Tuesday, Canada was reporting 114,800 cases of the virus and more than 8,900 fatalities.
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