The FDA expands its approval of remdesivir to patients who are not hospitalized
The treatment must be given via intravenous infusion over three consecutive days, generally at a hospital or clinic.
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday expanded the approved use of remdesivir, the infused antiviral medication from Gilead Sciences that has been widely used for hospitalized Covid patients since the early days the pandemic.
The drug is now also approved for high-risk Covid patients who are not sick enough to be hospitalized. That is the same group of patients that are eligible for monoclonal antibody infusions and antiviral pills, which are in very short supply.
While a limited number of hospitals and clinics have already been administering remdesivir to non-hospitalized patients on an off-label basis, the agency’s move may encourage more doctors to consider the drug for these patients.
Still, the expanded approval of remdesivir is not likely to alleviate widespread Covid treatment shortages, in large part because it is difficult to administer. The treatment must be given via intravenous infusion over three consecutive days, generally at a hospital or clinic.
That is easy enough for patients who are hospitalized, but much harder to do for medically vulnerable patients who are ill and at home. Doctors who are already overwhelmed by the Omicron surge have said the treatment is difficult to launch amid widespread staffing shortages.
January 24, 2022