The British Health Ministry announced a new trial Tuesday of the anti-viral drug remdesivir as a treatment for patients with COVID-19.
At his usual COVID briefing in London, Health Minister Matt Hancock called trials for the promising drug "probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began." He said treatment would be prioritized where it will provide the greatest benefit.
Remdesivir, developed by the U.S. pharmaceutical company Gilead, was approved for treatment of U.S. COVID-19 patients earlier this month after trials by the U.S. National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases ((NIAID)) showed positive results. Japan fast-tracked approval for use of the drug on its COVID-19 patients a short time later.
NIAID director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the drug proved effective in shortening recovery in COVID-19 patients, and while not a "cure-all" could be a helpful treatment.
Hancock also announced that on Monday, 134 COVID-19 deaths were reported across Britain. And for the first time since March 18, no deaths from the coronavirus were recorded in Northern Ireland.