Last Thursday, the FDA gave full approval to the first drug intended to treat COVID-19, but a recent Vox article suggests they may have put the cart ahead of the horse. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug developed by Gilead Sciences, and is marketed under the brand Veklury. It had previously received emergency use authorization back in May for severe COVID cases, and was allowed to be used on less serious cases when the FDA relaxed its guidelines in August.
Full FDA approval means remdesivir is now the standard of care for hospitalized patients, and now other potential treatments will have to go toe-to-toe with it during clinical research. Before it received approval, the WHO announced preliminary results that the drug had no effect on mortality, and negligible effects on how long a patient remained in the hospital. Researchers are now claiming there wasn’t enough data for full approval, and want the FDA to pump the breaks in the absence of a vaccine.