Canada authorizes first drug treatment for COVID-19

Health Canada has approved a drug treating COVID-19 for the first time ever.

Remdesivir will be authorized for patients of the virus who have pneumonia and require extra oxygen to help them breathe. 

The drug has been approved for use in adults and adolescents aged 12 years and older, according to a press release announcing the news on July 28.

Until now, just a small number of patients in Canada have been treated with remdesivir under the Special Access Program. 

The drug, which is administered through an IV, will be used only in healthcare facilities where patients can be closely monitored.

The treatment has also been granted emergency or conditional authorization in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

In Canada, the authorization included a full scientific review to determine that the drug's benefits outweigh its risks. 

Health Canada will continue to closely monitor the safety of remdesivir and will take prompt action should any safety concerns arise.

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