The European Medicines Agency (EMA) may give conditional approval this week for the use of the antiviral agent remdesivir in the treatment of patients with Covid-19.
EMA chief Guido Rasi said in the European Parliament on Monday that the drug from the American pharmaceutical company Gilead may be admitted to the European market under conditions within a few days.
The American drug watchdog FDA previously gave accelerated approval for the use of remdesivir to treat seriously ill corona patients. This also happened recently in Japan.
It is a flopped Ebola drug from the American company Gilead. Several studies are ongoing to find out how effective it is in the treatment of Covid-19.
“It turned out not to work well against Ebola at the time, but in vitro tests eventually showed that it does something against this coronavirus,” explained microbiology professor Herman Goossens. He is conducting a major European study on corona drugs.
Remdesivir apparently can block copying of the genetic code of the virus, preventing it from multiplying thousands of times after entering a cell. For the time being, the drug appears not to be very powerful, just powerful enough to prevent laboratory animals from becoming sick. Whether it does that in humans is not entirely clear yet.
A US study of a thousand people found that Corona patients recovered four days earlier than those who received a placebo. Some clinical trials with remdesivir are still ongoing, in which the drug is administered at an earlier stage of the disease process when a patient is not yet too ill.
The first results of this new type of clinical studies are expected to be somewhere in late May, early June.
Limited side effects?
According to German MEP and physician Peter Liese, conditional admission now means that experts consider the drug likely to be effective and have limited side effects. According to him, it is good news for many patients in Europe if they could receive the drug.
Gilead has assured him that Remdesivir will become available to European patients if the EMA has issued the so-called Conditional Marketing Authorization.