July 29 (UPI) -- The European Union said Wednesday it will pay $74 million to a U.S. drugmaker for doses of remdesivir to fight COVID-19.
The bloc said it reached a deal with Gilead Sciences for the drug, which will be the first used as a treatment for the coronavirus disease in the 27-member alliance.
The EU said it plans to use remdesivir to treat as many as 30,000 patients with severe symptoms.
"In recent weeks, the commission has been working tirelessly with Gilead to reach an agreement to ensure that stocks of the first treatment authorized against COVID-19 are delivered," Stella Kyriakides, EU commissioner for health and food safety, said in a statement.
Kyriakides noted that the drug will start reaching patients in the coming weeks.
"The 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," she added.
Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day said last month a study showed remdesivir shortened the recovery time for hospitalized COVID-19 patients by an average of four days.
Remdesivir has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but it has been given emergency authorization for use in patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms.