Remdesivir is the only treatment that’s been shown in a rigorous experiment to help fight the coronavirus. Earlier this year, a large study led by the National Institutes of Health found it could shorten average recovery time from 15 days to 11 days in hospitalized patients with severe disease.
In May, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Gilead Science’s drug for patients with extreme symptoms like breathing problems requiring supplemental oxygen or ventilators.
The drug is given through an IV and is designed to interfere with an enzyme the virus uses to copy its genetic material.
The European Medicines Agency announced this week it started a safety review on the drug after some patients reported serious kidney problems.
In a statement on Friday, the EU regulator said it isn’t clear whether remdesivir was causing the “acute kidney injury,” but that the issue “warrants further investigation.”
The drug’s known side effects include potential inflammation of the liver and problems related to its infusion, which could lead to nausea, vomiting, sweating, and low blood pressure.
He also was taking zinc, vitamin D, an antacid called famotidine, melatonin, and aspirin. None of those have been proven to be effective against COVID-19.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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