As of this morning – Wednesday May 27 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 265,227 with 37,048 deaths.
The government has announced that certain NHS patients with coronavirus will soon be able to access Gilead's remdesivir in a bid to speed up their recovery.
The drug is currently being tested in clinical trials around the world, with early data showing it can shorten the time to recovery by about four days.
The Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) and scientific opinion from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) supports NHS use of remdesivir where it is likely to deliver the greatest benefit.
Commenting on the move, Hilary Hutton-Squire, VP and general manager, Gilead Sciences UK and Ireland, said the firm is delighted that the MHRA and the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) have issued remdesivir a positive Scientific Opinion within the EAMS.
“Treatment options in response to this global public health emergency are urgently needed and we are grateful to the UK government and the MHRA for their continued support and collaboration to make this medicine available to those patients who are most likely to benefit from it. We will continue to work closely with the government to supply remdesivir across the UK,” she added.
The MHRA's scientific opinion does not replace the normal licensing procedures for medicines but supports prescribers and patients to decide on whether to use the medicine before its licence is approved. As part of the scientific opinion, a framework to collect safety data and manage risks will be implemented, the agency noted.
Remdesivir’s current use in the UK will be for patients in cases of high unmet medical need through the EAMS, where it will be provided to the NHS free of charge by Gilead throughout the EAMS period. It will also continue to be used in clinical trials.