The U.S. government has acquired almost 90% of the inventory for the next three months of the drug Remdesivir, one of the drugs that has shown positive effects in the treatment of COVID-19, the media reported Wednesday.
The Health Department has secured the purchase of more than 500,000 Remdesivir treatments from Gilead Sciences Pharmaceuticals for U.S. hospitals through September.
Specifically, the volume purchased represents 100% of July’s production, and 90% in August and September.
“President Donald Trump has reached an incredible agreement to ensure that Americans have access to the first authorized therapy for COVID-19. To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs it can get it,” Health Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.
The purchase comes just as the United States is experiencing a spike in the number of coronavirus infections, with more than 40,000 a day, especially in southern and western states such as Texas, Florida, Arizona and California.
Remdesivir, an experimental therapy that began development in 2009 and was tested on Ebola patients in the mid-1990s, has been given emergency approval for COVID-19 because a U.S. clinical trial showed that the drug shortens recovery time in some patients.
Gilead announced on Monday that it will sell its drug at $390 a vial to governments in developed countries, which would bring the price of the most common treatment to $2,340 per patient and that of longer therapies to $4,290.
In the United States, since the emergency approval of Remdesivir for coronavirus patients in May, hospitals have been using doses donated by Gilead, which will start charging for the drug in July.
It is an antiviral, given intravenously, that slows down the production of new virus particles and, as a result, a viral infection develops less quickly and patients in severe condition recover an average of four days earlier than usual.
On Tuesday, the United States recorded 2,636,538 confirmed cases of IDOC-19 and 127,425 deaths, according to the independent Johns Hopkins University count.