The health authorities stated on Friday that they will request the imports of Gilead Sciences Inc's anti-viral drug remdesivir for treating the coronavirus or COVID-19, as the new outbreak of the deadly disease glare as social distancing curbs get eased.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety needs to approve the import of the drug but a panel of the government concluded that remdesivir gave positive results, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) Director Jeong Eun-kyeong mentioned.
South Korea to Import Remdesivir
Foster City, California-based Gilead has said the drug has improved outcomes for people suffering from the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus and has provided data suggesting it works better when given in the early stages of infection.
Preliminary results from a trial led by the U.S. Institutes of Health showed remdesivir cut hospital stays by 31 percent compared with a placebo treatment, although it did not significantly improve survival. Remdesivir, which previously failed as a treatment for Ebola, is designed to stop some viruses making copies of themselves inside infected cells.
KCDC Confirmed 58 New Cases as of Thursday Midnight
After mounting an intensive campaign of tracing and testing to blunt an initial wave of coronavirus infections in February and March, South Korea has seen smaller but persistent outbreaks as it has lifted some social distancing restrictions in recent weeks. As of midnight on Thursday, the KCDC reported 58 new cases, bringing the country's total to 11,402, with 269 deaths.
The new spike in infections have been clustered in Seoul and the surrounding areas, raising concern that the densely populated capital city could see a wider outbreak. Those concerns prompted officials this week to close most government-run facilities like museums, galleries and theatres.
Education authorities, meanwhile, said they would press on with a phased reopening of schools, but imposed limits on the number of children allowed in some. Hundreds of schools across the country have be closed again, as new cases spring up.
(With agency inputs)