Switzerland fast-tracks antiviral medication against Covid-19

Remdesivir has already been granted temporary approval in other countries. Keystone / Marcel Kusch

The Swiss health authorities have granted approval for the remdesivir drug in “record time” for treating coronavirus patients. The temporary authorisation to widen the use of the antiviral drug will be closely monitored in case of adverse side effects.

This content was published on July 2, 2020 - 18:24
swissinfo.ch/mga

Swissmedic, the agency that oversees the use of medicaments in Switzerland, took days to fast-track approval of the drug, which is produced under the brand name Veklury by US biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. The application for its extended use was only received on Monday.

It can now be used for a limited period of time to treat patients suffering from SARS-CoV-2-related pneumonia who also require oxygen.

The drug has been authorized for emergency use in the United States, India, Singapore, South Korea and Japan and has been recommended by the European Medicines Agency to treat coronavirus patients in the EU.

Swissmedic said on Thursday that it had conducted a “careful review in record time” of the drug. Hospital doctors have now been given the green light to administer the treatment.Adverse reactions to the drug will be closely monitored in order to ensure patient safety,” read a statement.

The product will also be made available to patients outside approved clinical trials and the approved compassionate use programme while the submitted authorisation application is being reviewed,” it added.

Clinical trials in the US on medicaments containing the active ingredient remdesivir found that the hospital stay of severely affected Covid-19 patients was shortened in almost a third of cases.

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