Swedes with severe confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have been treated with an experimental medicine used to treat Ebola.
Remdesivir has so far not been approved for widespread use but the Swedish Medicine Agency has given permission to administer the drug to patients in test cases. Professor Anders Sönnerborg, chairman of the Reference Group for Antiviral Therapy, is cautiously optimistic about the drug’s efficacy.
“Yes, you know that Remdesivir has a very good effect in the test tube on both this virus and its relatives. It is also known that the drug has an effect on the SARS virus and the MERS virus,” Sönnerborg told broadcaster Sveriges Radio.
So far, the effects of the drug on countering the virus are not known, with Professor Sönnerborg saying that it was too early to make any conclusions.
“The few Swedish patients who have had access to this drug are seriously ill and this is a measure we are taking to improve their condition. It is not possible to evaluate the effect after just a few days,” he said.
‘Ethical Dimension’: Sweden Considers Who Will Live, Who Will Die in Rationing Coronavirus Healthcare https://t.co/ChIdJgSvHD
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Sweden is not the only country to consider the use of Remdesivir to treat serious cases of the coronavirus. Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that the drug had shown some positive results in China.
Bruce Aylward, an assistant director-general of the WHO, praised the drug at a press conference in Beijing saying: “There is only one drug right now that we think may have real efficacy and that’s Remdesivir.”
Authorities have also begun planning for potential shortages of medical supplies, hospital beds, and other resources by considering a triage system that could potentially mean choosing between who lives and who dies.