Some patients admitted to hospital with coronavirus could be given the drug remdesivir, which has been shown to shorten recovery time.
An anti-viral medicine originally developed to fight ebola, from today it can be prescribed to people with Covid-19 if there is a likelihood it will help them.
The Department of Health and Social Care said the government is working with manufacturer Gilead Sciences to supply this remdesivir treatment to some NHS patients.
Earlier this month, a continuing global clinical trial found remdesivir cut the length of time people suffered symptoms from 15 days to 11.
The trial involves around 1,000 patients from hospitals including the UK, US, France, Italy and China.
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Innovation minister Lord Bethell said: ‘This shows fantastic progress. As we navigate this unprecedented period, we must be on the front foot of the latest medical advancements, while always ensuring patient safety remains a top priority.
‘The latest expert scientific advice is at the heart of every decision we make, and we will continue to monitor remdesivir’s success in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for UK patients.’
The respiratory clinical trials unit in Hull is one of the centres which runs a trial of remdesivir.
President Donald Trump said the US government is putting its ‘full power and might’ behind the drug.
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