The UK government has asked its National Health Service (NHS) to temporarily prioritize the antiviral drug remdesivir for the Covid-19 patients who need it most as hospital cases rise.

“We are aware of a rise in the use of remdesivir in line with an increase in Covid-19 hospital cases. While there remain plenty of remdesivir supplies, we have asked the NHS to temporarily prioritize patients to ensure those most likely to benefit can access it,” a spokesperson for the UK Department of Health and Social Care said Tuesday in a statement sent to CNN.

“Patients are also receiving other approved treatments, for example dexamethasone or hydrocortisone, which have been proven to save lives and are in good supply,” the statement reads.  

It adds: “The UK is leading the way on research to find and fast-track more potential treatments, including through the landmark RECOVERY trial which brought lifesaving treatment dexamethasone to NHS patients.”

What is remdesivir? Remdesivir is one of only two treatments demonstrated to help coronavirus patients. The other is the cheap, widely used steroid drug dexamethasone. The National Institutes of Health in the United States recommends both for certain Covid-19 patients.

In May, remdesivir became the first therapy drug issued an emergency use authorization for Covid-19 in the US.



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