JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel approved on Tuesday the use of Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 infection.
Remdesivir is the first drug shown to be effective against the novel coronavirus in human trials, with South Korea, Japan, India, the United States and Singapore having already approved it for emergency use.
In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said his cabinet agreed to the health minister’s request to accept Gilead’s donation of remdesivir and that it would be used to treat moderately and critically ill patients.
Israel - with a population of 9 million - has reported 19,338 coronavirus cases and 302 deaths. It has seen a spike in new infections since reopening schools, restaurants and many businesses last month.
Clinical studies involving remdesivir are being closely watched as nations look for treatments for the disease that has been reported to have infected more than 8 million people and killed more than 400,000 globally.
Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Giles Elgood