Regulators have approved Britain’s first medicine to treat coronavirus – a drug intended for use on Ebola victims.
Clinical trials suggest remdesivir can shorten recovery time for Covid-19 sufferers by an average of four days, from 15 to 11.
Formal licence approval takes months but the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said the anti-viral drug can be prescribed before this is complete.
Hospital doctors can give remdesivir to Covid-19 patients aged over 12, while clinical trials with manufacturer Gilead Sciences continue.
The move boosts efforts to find an effective treatment and improve NHS capacity to cope with a potential second wave of the disease.