FDA authorizes experimental drug remdesivir for emergency use in COVID-19 patients

President Trump Meets With Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards At White House Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration just authorized the emergency use of remdesivir, an experimental anti-viral drug, to treat COVID-19.

Emergency authorization does not mean that the drug is FDA-approved, a standard that only comes after a detailed review showing a drug can safely and effectively treat a particular disease. The agency can issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for unapproved medical products that may help treat a life-threatening disease when no approved alternatives are available — that’s what it did here.

The authorization does not mean the drug was proven to work by the FDA’s usual benchmarks, but that “the known and potential benefits of remdesivir when used to treat COVID-19 outweigh the known and potential risks…

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