The Latest: European Commission reaches deal for remdesivir

BRUSSELS — The European Commission says it has sealed a deal with pharmaceutical company Gilead to buy 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir.

No treatment has yet proved able to prevent serious illness after a coronavirus infection but the antiviral drug also known by its commercial name Veklury has helped some COVID-19 patients recover faster.

Remdesivir was approved as a treatment for the coronavirus by the Commission in July.

The European Union’s executive arm said the joint procurement contract has been signed by 36 participants including all 27 EU countries and the UK. The agreement will allow countries to purchase the drug for immediate use and stockpiling needs, Gilead said.

“Today we secure access to Remdesivir for the treatment of up to 500,000 patients in need,” said Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Pence, Harris spar over COVID-19 in U.S. vice presidential debate

— Trump hails experimental treatment for his virus recovery

— Sri Lanka closes key state offices as virus outbreak surges

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

BERLIN — Germany has recorded a sharp jump in new coronavirus cases in a sign that the pandemic is picking up pace in the country again.

Germany’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 4,058 additional confirmed infections and 16 deaths over the past 24 hours Thursday. This takes the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 310,144, with 9,578 deaths.

Authorities urged people not to travel to and from regions with over 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past week. These regions include the cities of Bremen, Remscheid, Hagen, Hamm and parts of Berlin.

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PRAGUE — Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have hit a record high for the second straight day, surpassing 5,000 cases in a day for the first time.

Health Ministry figures showed new confirmed day-to-day increase was 5,335 on Wednesday, almost 900 more than the previous day’s record.

The Czech Republic currently has more people testing positive daily than neighboring countries, including Germany with a population eight times higher.

The government is planning to announce a new measures to contain the surge on Friday.

The Czech Republic has reported 95,360 virus cases since the pandemic began, with 829 deaths. Currently, 43,764 are ill with the virus, with 1,563 hospitalized.

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NEW DELHI — India has registered 78,524 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the country’s total since the pandemic began to 6.8 million.

The Health Ministry on Thursday also reported 971 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 1,05,526.

India has witnessed a steady drop of confirmed coronavirus cases for three consecutive weeks now — from recording more than 86,000 daily cases in the last two weeks of September to an average of more than 70,000 cases daily so far this month. The numbers have also fallen sharply from earlier in September when daily cases averaged around 93,000 in India.

More than 1.1 million samples have been tested daily on an average so far in October, according to the Health Ministry.

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Authorities in Sri Lanka have closed key government offices and further expanded a curfew to contain a surging coronavirus outbreak.

The foreign ministry closed the consular affairs office for the week and suspended all services to prevent the public from congregating. The ministry said Thursday it would only accept queries and documentation assistance related to deaths of Sri Lankans overseas, strictly by appointment.

Other departments providing services related to revenue, immigration, pensions, vehicle license and registrations also closed for the week, and a state-sponsored exhibition was canceled.

The outbreak that surfaced this week has grown to 1,034 cases with more than 2,000 others asked to quarantine at home.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has 69 new confirmed coronavirus cases, most of them in the Seoul region area where health workers are struggling to track transmissions tied to hospitals, churches, schools and an army unit.

The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Thursday brought the national total to 24,422 cases, including 427 deaths.

Forty-nine of the new cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people. The region has been at the center of a coronavirus resurgence since mid-August.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming has reported a new high for the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 amid a fall surge in coronavirus infections.

Forty-seven people were hospitalized Wednesday. That is up from 24 a week ago, which at the time was the most since daily hospitalizations peaked at 23 in April.

The 47 patients are at 14 hospitals around the state. Wyoming health officials say they are not worried about COVID-19 patients overwhelming any specific hospital. But they do worry about the small intensive-care capacity of most Wyoming hospitals.

Wyoming Medical Center in Casper has the most COVID-19 patients at 12, followed by Sheridan Memorial Hospital with five.

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he wants everyday Americans to have access to the same experimental treatment he received for the coronavirus.

Trump has played down the threat of the virus since receiving VIP care, but he says in a new video taped in the White House Rose Garden that he wants “to get for you what I got” and will make the drug free.

Trump says he’s feeling “great” and “like perfect” and calls his diagnosis “a blessing in disguise.”

Trump received an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron through a “compassionate use” exemption. The safety and effectiveness of the drug have not yet been proven. And there is no way for the president or his doctors to know that the drug had any effect. Most people recover from COVID-19.

Categories: National News