Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration has given provisional approval to the drug remdesivir, an experimental medicine that has shown promise in the recovery time of the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients.
The approval comes as Australia is seeing a sharp increase in coronavirus infections in the state of Victoria, which reported a record 288 new confirmed cases Friday.
Authorities say remdesivir will be available only to patients who are severely ill, require oxygen or high-level support to breathe, and are in hospital care.
It is the only drug licensed by both the US and the European Union as a treatment for people with severe illness from the coronavirus.
With a population of 26 million, Australia has recorded more than 9,000 coronavirus cases, with 106 deaths.