The European Commission signed a €63 million ($74 million) contract with US drug firm Gilead to secure COVID-19 treatment remdesivir, the EU institution announced on Wednesday.

The agreement will cover the treatment of approximately 30,000 patients with severe symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The procurement is financed by the EU budget and the medicine will be distributed among EU members states and the UK from August.

“The [European] Commission is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to secure access to safe and efficient treatments, and is supporting the development of vaccines against coronavirus,” EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides said, calling the deal with Gilead “another important step forward in our fight to overcome this disease”.

Under the brand name Veklury, remdesivir is the first coronavirus cure that received EU market authorization in early July.

The medicine could be used in the treatment of adults and children over the age of 12 who require supplemental oxygen because of pneumonia.

Remdesivir was originally developed to fight Ebola, but tests have shown that it significantly reduces the recovery time of coronavirus patients as well, especially in the case of severe illnesses.

A study proved that patients in serious condition healed in an average 12 days with the help of remdesivir compared to the 18-day results of the control group treated with placebo.

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