File photo: Agencies
BRUSSELS, July 29 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission has signed a 63 million-euro contract with American pharmaceutical company Gilead to secure treatment doses of Veklury, the brand name for Remdesivir, for the treatment of COVID-19, it announced on Wednesday.
The commission said in a statement that batches of Veklury will be made available to the EU member states and the United Kingdom from early August. The distribution will be coordinated by the European Commission.
Remdesivir was the first medicine authorized at the EU level for treatment of COVID-19 after the European Commission fast-tracked the request for authorization earlier this month. At the time, media reported that the United States had locked down all the production for July and 90 percent of it for August and September.
But EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides was upbeat about the drug reaching Europe. "In recent weeks, the Commission has been working tirelessly with Gilead to reach an agreement to ensure that stocks of the first treatment authorized against COVID-19 are delivered to the EU," she said in the statement.
Kyriakides said the contract, funded by the Commission's Emergency Support Instrument, was signed on Tuesday, and thus would enable the provision of the medicine for the treatment of around 30,000 European patients presenting severe COVID-19 symptoms, helping cover the current needs.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control will be involved in the allocation at the EU level to ensure fair distribution. The Commission said it was preparing a joint procurement for more supplies of the medicine for the period of October onwards.
Remdesivir is a treatment against COVID-19 for adults and adolescents as from age 12 with pneumonia who require supplemental oxygen. Its producer, Gilead must submit the final reports of the Remdesivir studies by December 2020 as part of the conditions to move from a conditional marketing authorization to a full marketing authorization.