The European Union Commission has announced the signing of a deal with the American firm Gilead Sciences to secure access to its anti-coronavirus drug, Remdesivir. The deal would provide treatment against COVID-19 for around 30,000 patients across the bloc, as well as the UK, which is in the process of withdrawing from it.
"The Commission signed a contract […] for ensuring treatment doses of Veklury - the brand name for Remdesivir. As of early August onwards, batches of this medicine Veklury will be made available to member states and the UK", spokeswoman for the European Commission, Dana Spinant, said.
The EU Commission spokeswoman went on to note that the first batch of the 63-million euro ($73.99 million) contract will be used to address the union’s immediate needs. She added that member states are currently working to ensure additional procurements of the drug starting in October without revealing how many doses will be ordered in the next deal.
Remdesivir was originally designed by Gilead Sciences as a treatment for patients suffering from Hepatitis C, but it was authorised for emergency use in severe coronavirus cases after some studies suggested it might shorten the time needed for a person to recover from the infection.
A study conducted by the US National Institutes of Health showed that Remdesivir shortened the recovery time from an average of 15 days to 11 days, although the authors of the study admitted that the medication alone is not sufficient to treat a person suffering from COVID-19. At the same time, a competing study of the drug in China showed contrary results indicating that the medicine not only had little positive influence on the patients, but also resulted in various adverse side-effects.