S. Korea begins providing remdesivir for severe COVID-19 patients
Updated: 2020-07-01 17:02:25 KST
From Wednesday, South Korea began treating severe COVID-19 patients with remdesivir.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed a deal last month with the U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences under which it will get the drug free of charge for a month.
That was after remdesivir was approved for import by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety based on an emergency request from the KCDC.
"The Central Clinical Commission has agreed on the safety and effectiveness of the drug and suggested that it be imported given that there is no other anti-viral medication available at the moment."
If a hospital wants to use remdesivir, it will have to make a request to the National Medical Center, which will decide on a case-by-case basis whether a patient should get it after consulting with the Central Clinical Commission.
The KCDC says the criteria are that a patient has been diagnosed with pneumonia by X-ray or CT, is on oxygen treatment, has an oxygen saturation rate below 94 percent, and whose symptoms appeared within 10 days.
It recommends the drug be administered for five days.
That can be extended for another five days if necessary, but the total duration should not exceed 10 days.
Details have not yet been disclosed regarding the amount to be imported or the price.
But the KCDC says it will start negotations next month when the initial free supply ends.
Remdesivir, originally an experimental drug to treat Ebola, was found in a U.S. government study to shorten COVID-19 recovery times by 31 percent and so far, it's the only drug authorized by federal regulators to treat the disease.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.