South Korea said Saturday it is open to importing Remdesivir, an Ebola treatment that has emerged as a new hope in tackling the new coronavirus, if it proves to be effective through clinical tests.
"Health authorities are working closely with related bodies to follow up on ongoing clinical tests, while preparing to promptly import Remdesivir in case of contingencies," Deputy Director Kwon Jun-wook of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Under local law, the KCDC can request the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to grant special permission to expedite imports of drugs that have not been approved in the domestic market.
The drug has drawn keen attention since the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases earlier said its tests showed that the drug "accelerates recovery" of COVID-19 patients.
The US Food and Drug Administration gave emergency approval on the pharmaceutical product to treat the new coronavirus as well.
Under cooperation with the drug's maker, Gilead Sciences, three hospitals in South Korea are currently carrying out clinical tests of the drug on some 200 COVID-19 patients.
Kwon said while South Korea still needs to take a wait-and-see approach on the effectiveness of the drug, it was still notable that a "reputable" organization like the US FDA issued emergency approval. (Yonhap)