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South Korea says Ebola drug remdesivir may not be suitable for all coronavirus patients

Published on 06/05/20 at 12:29pm
Photo by Jeon Han, Government of the Republic of Korea

South Korea says that remdesivir, traditionally used in treating Ebola, may not be effective enough in treating COVID-19 patients.

South Korean health authorities believe that the drug may mitigate the symptoms, but the decision on whether or how remdesivir will be used remains on the results of current clinical trials.

Deputy Director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), Kwon Jun-wook, said in a briefing that: “To make a determination of remdesivir’s efficacy, we’re planning to solicit opinions from an expert panel, including the members of the central clinical committee who are taking part in clinical trials.

“As disease control authorities, we look forward to remdesivir reducing hospitalization times and fatality rates for patients with severe symptoms, but our understanding is that this does not mean it can reduce transmissibility through administration to all patients like Tamiflu at the time of the novel influenza outbreak.”

Medical officials in South Korea are currently participating in three sets of clinical trials. If the effectiveness of the drug in coronavirus patients is proved, and import provisions are implemented, Korea will be able to import the drug.

The United States gave remdesivir emergency approval on 1 May. The FDA granted the drug, developed by Gilead Sciences, emergency use after clinical trials in America showed limited effectiveness in treating coronavirus. But this approval only allows its use for patients with severe symptoms.

Conor Kavanagh

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