Experts warn that remdesivir should not be seen as a "magic bullet"
A drug treatment called remdesivir that appears to decrease the recovery time for people with coronavirus is being made available on the NHS.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said this was probably the biggest step in treating coronavirus since the crisis began.
Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine that has been used against Ebola.
UK regulators say there is sufficient evidence to approve its use in selected patients at Covid-19 hospital.
For now and due to limited supplies, it will target those most likely to benefit.
The U.S. and Japan have already made similar urgent deals to provide early access to the drug before they have a marketing deal.
Currently, the drug is undergoing clinical tests worldwide, including in the United Kingdom.
Initial data suggest that reduce recovery time by about four days, but there is still no evidence that it will save more lives.
- Coronavirus cure: when will we have a drug to treat it?
- The combination of drugs that can help us beat the coronavirus
It is unclear how much the pharmaceutical stock company Gilead Sciences has available to treat patients in the UK.
The allocation of intravenous medication will be based on the advice of doctors.
Innovation Minister Lord Bethell said: "This shows fantastic progress. As we navigate this unprecedented period, we must be at the forefront of the latest medical advances, while always ensuring patient safety is a priority. .
"The most recent and expert scientific advice is at the heart of all the decisions we make, and we will continue to monitor the success of remdesivir in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for patients in the UK."
Stephen Griffin, of the University of Leeds School of Medicine, said it may have been the most promising antiviral for coronavirus so far.
He said that patients with the most serious illness will likely receive it first. "While this is clearly the most ethical approach, it also means that we should not expect the drug to act immediately like a magic bullet."
"Instead, we can expect better recovery rates and a reduction in patient mortality, which we hope will benefit the greatest possible number of patients."
Other drugs being investigated for the coronavirus include those for malaria and HIV.
Testing of the hydroxychloroquine drug against malaria has been halted in some trials due to safety concerns.
The World Health Organization says temporary suspension is a precaution, after a recent medical study found that the drug may increase the risk of death and complications in heart rate.
In the UK, the Recovery trial, which looks at the use of this drug in patients, remains open, but another, using it on the NHS team to prevent and not treat infections, has stopped recruiting more volunteers.