The Food and Drug Administration has approved the drug remdesivir to treat young children who have COVID-19. The drug, which has already been approved for adults, can now be given to children as young as 28 days old.
The drug is the first to be approved to treat young children with COVID-19.
Children must be hospitalized or have mild to moderate symptoms to be eligible for the drug.
"As COVID-19 can cause severe illness in children, some of whom do not currently have a vaccination option, there continues to be a need for safe and effective COVID-19 treatment options for this population," Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. "Today's approval of the first COVID-19 therapeutic for this population demonstrates the agency's commitment to that need."
Doctors were elated with the approval because there is no vaccine currently authorized for children under 5.
"This approval means that remdesivir can potentially provide meaningful clinical improvement by reducing disease progression and helping children recover from COVID-19 more quickly," said Amina Ahmed, MD, Atrium Health-Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States. "We need proven antiviral treatment options, like remdesivir, that can help treat some of the most vulnerable in our society: children."
While there have been some setbacks in getting a vaccine authorized for young children, Pfizer and Moderna are hoping their vaccines will be approved by the FDA by the end of the summer.