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A treatment for COVID-19 has saved lives and reduced the risk of people needing hospital treatment, medical officials say.

According to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Veklury (the brand name of antiviral medication remdesivir) proved effective when given to COVID-19 patients in two separate studies.

It was the first treatment for the virus to get the green light.

The Caravan study, on patients under 18, showed it “demonstrated clinical improvement and recovery in a high proportion of hospitalised patients”, the TGA said.

The Pinetree study, of people aged over 12, showed the drug “significantly reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death”.

The TGA granted provisional approval to Gilead Sciences Pty Ltd to extend the use of the drug to more people.

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