SEOUL -- Remdesivir, an antiviral medication approved in South Korea as a specific treatment for COVID-19, is now available for critically ill patients under a supply contract with Gilead Sciences, an American biopharmaceutical company. From July 1, the drug will be released to hospitals through the state-run National Medical Center.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) authorized remdesivir following the positive assessment of clinical trials by experts. The drug for has been authorized for emergency use in the United States and some other countries as it may shorten the time it takes to recover from COVID-19 infection.
KCDC said in a statement that it signed a contract on June 29 for the free supply of remdesivir for the treatment of patients who have pneumonia and need oxygen treatment. Remdesivir should be administered for five days and the administration period can be extended by five days. The amount of free supplies for July was not disclosed according to the terms of the contract.
After July, KCDC Director Jeong Eun-Kyeong promised to purchase remdesivir through price negotiations with the South Korean branch of Gilead Sciences. Dozens of antiviral drugs have been tested, with researchers involved in experiments to check the efficacy of various anti-viral drugs. Jeong's office has worked out guidelines on the use of remdesivir and side effects.
The COVID-19 pandemic has opened a huge market for vaccines, diagnostic kits and medication. Many medical scientists have predicted that humanity has a higher chance of developing a COVID-19 antiviral drug using different compositions of conventional antiviral medicines rather than trying to research and develop a totally new drug.
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