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The US bought the world's stock of Remdesivir, but what exactly is it?

The federal government spent more than a billion dollars to buy the experimental drug Remdesivir. We take you through the history of the life-saving drug.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — When Wuhan, China, went into lockdown from the coronavirus, a chemical biologist at Texas A&M University began searching for a solution.

"It was an obligation for me to figure out some treatment options for my relatives living in China," Dr. Wenshe Liu said.

Liu works for Texas A&M and the university said he was the first person in the world to publish a paper identifying Remdesivir as a possible coronavirus treatment.

"What Remdesivir can really do is slow down virus reproduction in human patients so our immune system can catch up," it said.

His research came out in January.

On May 1, the FDA gave emergency authorization for Remdesivir in the U.S. The maker of the drug donated 600,000 doses to the federal government. Florida got a shipment the same month.

Also in May, the National Institutes of Health released a study that found the drug shortened recovery time by four days but did not reduce fatalities.

Now, the U.S. is buying up most of the world's 500,000 treatments of the crucial drug. The drug's maker and the Department of Health and Human Services reported the U.S. bought the drug for $2,340 a treatment. 

That's a total price tag of $1.17 billion.

The Department of Health and Human Services will decide which hospitals get the drug. After that, the rest of the world can start buying the drug again.

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