The Minister said: "The news that patients in Northern Ireland will have access to Remdesivir through the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) is a positive step in the fightback against Covid-19".
The antiviral medicine remdesivir was developed for Ebola, but initial trials on COVID-19 patients showed it reduced the length of time they experienced symptoms from 15 days to 11.
The study also suggested a survival benefit, with a 14-day mortality rate of 7 per cent for the group receiving remdesivir compared to almost 12 per cent for the placebo group. Investigators found that remdesivir was most beneficial for hospitalized patients with severe disease who required supplemental oxygen.
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Beigel, M.D., from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of intravenous remdesivir in 1,063 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 with lower respiratory tract involvement.
However, the scientists noted that the difference in mortality was not statistically significant.
According to the study, the clinicians tracked patients' health status daily using an eight-point ordinal scale ranging from fully recovered to death. Findings about benefits in other patient subgroups were less conclusive in this preliminary analysis.
But others have raised concerns about the trial's data, noting researchers changed the study's main goal before they analyzed the data, which could lead to skewed results, STAT News reports.
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Research being carried out on remdesivir in Germany. "By stopping it early the scientific community was deprived of the opportunity to determine whether remdesivir can or cannot reduce mortality".
A study last month of more than 1,000 people severely sickened by the coronavirus found those who got the drug were discharged from the hospital several days earlier than those who got a placebo.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday announced it is temporarily suspending a global trial evaluating the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, citing a study published Friday in the Lancet showing the drug increased the risk of death among patients.
The first drug for coronavirus will be rolled out to seriously ill coronavirus patients, the government has announced.
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"Treatment options in response to this global public health emergency are urgently needed and we are grateful to the United Kingdom 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".