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FDA Approves First COVID-19 Drug: Antiviral Remdesivir

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Pool Image / AFP
The Florida Channel
Drug-maker Gilead Sciences says remdesivir is approved for people at least 12 years old who need hospitalization for the coronavirus.

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the U.S. It's the first and only approved treatment for COVID-19.

The drug, named Veklury, was one of the three experimental treatments given to President Donald Trump while infected with the coronavirus.

The California-based biotechnology company that developed the drug, Gilead Sciences, said the antiviral is “widely available in hospitals across the country, following early investments to rapidly expand manufacturing capacity to increase supply,” according to a news release.

Gilead Sciences said the drug is approved for people at least 12 years old who need hospitalization for their coronavirus infection. 

It works by inhibiting a substance the virus uses to make copies of itself. A large U.S. study found it cut the time to recovery by five days -- from 15 days to 10 on average.

It had been authorized for use on an emergency basis since spring.

Information from WLRNradio and coverage partner the Miami Heraldwas used in the report. 

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.