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FDA approves remdesivir, first drug for treating COVID-19

The antiviral medicine given through an IV has been approved for people at least 12 years old who need hospitalization for their coronavirus infection.

WASHINGTON — Editor's note: The related video above was published Oct. 5.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug to treat COVID-19: remdesivir, an antiviral medicine given through an IV for patients needing hospitalization.

The drug, which California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. is calling Veklury, cut the time to recovery by five days — from 15 days to 10 on average — in a large study led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

It had been authorized for use on an emergency basis since spring, and now has become the first drug to win full U.S. approval for treating COVID-19.

Gilead says Veklury is approved for people at least 12 years old and weighing at least 88 pounds (40 kilograms) who need hospitalization for their coronavirus infection. It works by inhibiting a substance the virus uses to make copies of itself.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Credit: AP
FILE - In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, a vial of the investigational drug remdesivir is visually inspected at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States.