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Brussels/New Delhi: The European Commission has authorised anti-viral drug remdesivir for the treatment against coronavirus on Friday, making it the first drug authorised at the European Union level for the treatment of Covid-19.
“Today, the European Commission granted a conditional marketing authorization for the medicine remdesivir,” the European Commission said in a press release, Xinhua reported.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Today’s authorisation of a first medicine to treat Covid-19 is an important step forward in the fight against this virus… We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to secure efficient treatments or vaccine against the coronavirus.”
The EU expedited the authorisation, approving the drug in an exceptionally short timeframe, but not before the news that the US has already locked down a large supply of remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences, in the coming months.
The US Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Monday that it had secured all of the Gilead’s production for July and 90 per cent of that for August and September for US hospitals, raising concerns in Europe.
A spokesman for the European Commission told a press conference on Thursday that Brussels heard of the US move from media reports, meaning Washington didn’t bother to inform its allies beforehand.
The EU was in ongoing talks with Gilead Sciences to reserve a “sufficient number of doses”, reporters were told.
WHO team to visit China, probe virus source
The World Health Organization is finally sending a team to China next week to prepare to investigate the source of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the Covid-19.
The announcement made earlier this week came amid accusations from some quarters that the virus might have originated in a laboratory in China.
“WHO has been saying that knowing the source of the virus is very, very important. It’s science, it’s public health. We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“We will be sending a team next week to China to prepare for that and we hope that that will lead into understanding how the virus started and what we can do for the future to prepare. So we’re planning to send a team next week,” Ghebreyesus added.
US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier said the virus might have originated in a laboratory in China.
With no evidence to back the speculations, China has denied the allegations. (Agencies)