The European Commission has signed a €63 million ($74 million) contract with pharmaceutical company Gilead, to secure doses of antiviral drug remdesivir, the first medicine authorised by the EU for treating coronavirus.
“The Commission has been working tirelessly with Gilead to reach an agreement to ensure that stocks of the first treatment authorised against Covid-19 are delivered to the EU,” Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said Wednesday in a statement.
“A contract has been signed yesterday, less than a month after the authorisation of remdesivir, which will allow the delivery of treatments from early August for thousands of patients,” she added.
The purchase was financed by the EU Emergency Support Instrument, a new €2.7 billion fund ($3.1 billion) which was created to help the bloc's member states recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The purchase will help treat an estimated 30,000 patients presenting severe symptoms of coronavirus.
“The Commission is now also preparing a joint procurement for further supplies of the medicine, expected to cover additional needs and supplies as from October onwards,” the statement added.
Remdesivir was originally studied as a potential treatment for Ebola, before research revealed it could work against coronavirus.