COVID19: Commission opts for U.S.Remdesivir

The Commission has signed a joint procurement framework contract with the pharmaceutical company Gilead for the supply of up to 500,000 treatment courses of Veklury, the brand name for Remdesivir, and the opportunity to increase supply beyond the 500,000 treatment courses. There are 36 signatories of the Joint Procurement Agreement participating in this joint procurement, including all EU countries, the EEA countries of Norway and Iceland, the UK, as well as six candidate countries and potential candidates.

All participating countries can now place their orders to procure Veklury directly. Veklury is at this stage the only medicine with a conditional marketing authorisation in the EU for the treatment of COVID-19 patients needing oxygen supply. Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Today we secure access to Remdesivir for the treatment of up to 500,000 patients in need. We are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure that safe and efficient therapeutics are available against COVID-19. Through our EU Joint Procurements, we are empowering countries across Europe to join forces and get access to vital equipment and medicines. We are always stronger together, and this is European solidarity in action against COVID-19.”
The decision of the Commission was takes in spite of absence of any evidence that Remdesivir has desired effect in curing COVID-19.

“During outbreak of emerging disease, the most important aim is to discover an effective drug to save life. Consequently, a lot of effort are generally made by the industry to promote clinical trials with new drugs. Here we review evidence of the 8 most recent reports including 3 randomized controlled trials on the clinical efficacy of remdesivir in treating COVID-19 patient. We conclude that it is far too premature to identify remdesivir as a curative or life-saving intervention” reads article, signed by three scientists, including the Prof.Didier Raoult, Director of the Institute of infectious deceases IHU MĂ©diterranĂ©e in Marseille, France.

In some of the EU countries, like France, Remdesivir (Veklury ®, Gilead) has since July 15, 2020 a temporary authorization for cohort use (ATUc). This is not an easy prescription molecule and any initiation must first be the subject of a collegial opinion. Its use is restricted to healthcare facilities for oxygen-seeking patients under monitoring of renal and hepatic functions. The evolution of the condition of the first five patients hospitalized in intensive care at Bichat hospital (Paris) and treated with this broad-spectrum antiviral, in particular the toxicity observed, underlines the complexity of use of this antiviral in fragile individuals, reads an artile in the Journal Of Infectious Diseases.

Remdesivir is a drug invented by the American laboratory Gilead for the treatment of several infectious diseases. It is active against Ebola virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Junin virus (responsible for Argentinian hemorrhagic fever), Middle East respiratory syndrome virus (MERS-CoV, which belongs to the family of coronavirus) or the Marburg virus. It was in 2009 that Gilead began the research that led to remdesivir, with programs on hepatitis C and respiratory syncytial virus. It is an antiviral drug analogous to adenosine. It is available as a lyophilisate intended for intravenous administration.

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