The German government has decided not to follow a recent recommendation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) against the use of the antiviral drug Remdesivir in treating patients with symptoms of COVID-19, according to government sources.

In April, scientists acknowledged the experimental drug as the first effective treatment against the coronavirus. In May, US regulators allowed the emergency use of the drug, while in July, the US has bought nearly all the available global stocks for the next three months of drug from drugmaker Gilead Sciences.

On 20 November, the WHO issued a recommendation against the use of Remdesivir in hospitalised patients, citing its earlier trial that found the medicines have little to no effect on the patients’ survival.

The European Commission has already signed a deal with Gilead to buy 500,000 treatment courses of Remdesivir, which is currently the only approved treatment to combat COVID-19.

Sources from the German health ministry, however, told the media that the WHO study “has been carefully reviewed by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA)”, and that “both institutions conclude that Remdesivir remains approved”.

Last month, Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, said that it is better to administrate Remdesivir only at certain stages of the infection, rather than at every stage.


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