Remdesivir: Australia’s first approved COVID-19 treatment

Associate Professor Stuart Ralph appeared on an SBS World News report about the drug following its approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Greater Melbourne is once more under Stage 3 restrictions in attempts to curb rising COVID-19 cases. Yet, there has also been a more promising development with the TGA authorising Australia’s first pharmaceutical treatment for the disease: remdesivir.

While early trials of the antiviral drug – including the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial – have had mixed results, there are encouraging signs that remdesivir may be able to reduce symptoms and recovery times in some of the most extreme cases of COVID-19.

“Remdesivir is the most promising treatment option so far to reduce hospitalisation time for those suffering from severe coronavirus infections,” the TGA said in a statement.

As well as helping patients, faster recovery times would also alleviate some of the strain on Australian hospitals, freeing up beds and allowing access to life-saving treatment for those most in need.

Associate Professor Stuart Ralph, Acting Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, was featured on SBS World News to comment on reports that the US Government has been stockpiling much of the world’s remdesivir supply.

Screenshot of Associate Professor Stuart Ralph speaking on SBS World News

Watch the video

“I think that’s very disturbing, and I think we need to think about how we make sure that that doesn’t happen in the likely event of a vaccine being developed,” he said.

Associate Professor Ralph was recently interviewed for a Q&A in Pursuit to discuss the urgent search for other effective antiviral treatments for COVID-19.