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S. Korea open to use of Ebola drug on new coronavirus after full clinical testing

A worker stands outside a makeshift clinic for COVID-19 tests at the National Medical Center in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
A worker stands outside a makeshift clinic for COVID-19 tests at the National Medical Center in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korea will allow the use of an Ebola virus drug in treating coronavirus patients if the drug proves to be effective and safe through clinical tests, officials said Thursday.

The drug, Remdesivir, has drawn keen attention since the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said its tests showed that the drug "accelerates recovery" of COVID-19 patients.

"It is true that some positive effects are being mentioned about Remdesivir," Deputy Director Kwon Jun-wook of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said during a daily briefing. "In case of contingencies, we will try to give it emergency use authorization and allow its domestic use."

The NIAID said in a statement released on Wednesday that hospitalized patients with advanced COVID-19 and lung involvement, who received Remdesivir, recovered faster than similar patients who received placebo.

Under cooperation with the drug's maker, Gilead Sciences, three hospitals in South Korea are also carrying out clinical tests of the drug on some 200 COVID-19 patients.

Kwon said, however, that its use can be allowed only after full clinical test results are reviewed.

"At this point in time, the full clinical test results have not been tallied yet," he said. "The disease control center and experts will keep looking into the results as they come in and make necessary preparations." (Yonhap)
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