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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

FDA Approves First COVID-19 Drug: Antiviral Remdesivir

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Pool Image / AFP
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 WLRN radio and coverage partner the Miami Herald was used in the report.