The US Department of Health Services (HHS) announced this on Monday, saying it has secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of Remdesivir from drugmaker Gilead Sciences.
The stocks make up 100 percent of Gilead’s projected production for July and 90 percent each for August and September.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a statement said;
President Donald Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for COVID-19. To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it.
However, critics say the US move to buy up so much stock from Gilead itself undermines international co-operation on COVID-19, given that other countries have taken part in trials of remdesivir.
Remdesivir, which is administered intravenously in hospital, is the first drug to show improvement in COVID-19 patients in formal clinical trials, and new information about its efficacy is being closely watched around the world.
About 140,000 doses of the drug was delivered to countries all over the world for trials, which helped determine its efficacy.
Tests suggest remdesivir cuts recovery times, though it is not yet clear if it improves survival rates.
Remdesivir, which previously failed as a treatment for Ebola, is designed to disable the mechanism by which certain viruses, including the new coronavirus, make copies of themselves and potentially overwhelm their host’s immune system.
A cheap and widely-used steroid called dexamethasone has also proven to save lives among critically ill COVID-19 patients in what scientists and the World Health Organization hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against the virus.
Dozens of companies are working on a variety of treatment and vaccine approaches.
There are currently no approved vaccines for the new coronavirus that has infected more than 10 million people and killed nearly 500,000 worldwide.