The World Health Organisation (WHO) has suspended Gilead’s remdesivir, the popular antiviral medicine that was initially being touted as a potential treatment for Covid-19 cases for months, from its list of medicines. Prior to the suspension of remdesivir, WHO had warned against its use on Covid-19 patients.

According to Reuters, WHO said on Friday it has suspended Gilead's remdesivir from its so-called prequalification list, an official list of medicines used as a benchmark for procurement by developing countries. WHO had earlier issuing guidance against the use of remdesivir for patients hospitalised with Covid-19.

"Yes, we have suspended it from the PQ (prequalification list)," WHO media representative Tarik Jasarevic said in an emailed response to Reuters. "The suspension is a signal to countries that WHO, in compliance with the treatment guidelines, does not recommend countries procure the drug for Covid."

Remdesivir was one of the drugs used to treat US President Donald Trump's coronavirus infection, and had been shown in previous studies to have cut time to recovery. It was authorised for use as a Covid-19 treatment in more than 50 countries.

In India, Gilead had signed non-exclusive deals with several pharma companies to boost the supply of remdesivir, which was so far the only approved treatment against Covid-19. Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Zydus Cadila apart from Cipla and a few others were already making the generic remdesivir antiviral drug in India.

The Reuters report also said that the WHO was not aware that any international procurers were providing the drug to low and middle-income countries.
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