The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted remdesivir emergency use authorization to treat the most severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The announcement came Friday during an Oval Office meeting between President Trump, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, as well as CEO, Daniel O’Day of Gilead Sciences, the company that developed remdesivir.

“Given there are no adequate, approved, or available alternative treatments, the known potential benefits to treat this serious or life-threatening virus currently outweigh the know and potential risks of the drug’s use,” the FDA wrote in a press release.

The FDA’s decision expands doctors’ ability to use remdesivir on the most severe cases.  Previously, physicians were limited to trying the drug in clinical trials or in what’s called compassionate use for patients who have no other treatment options.  However, that does not mean the drug should be used for all hospitalized patients.

O’Day, said the company is working to rapidly increase its supply of IV remdesivir, predicting an ability to treat up to one million patients by the end of this year.

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