Bad News On COVID-19 Treatment: WHO Study Finds Remdesivir Has No Substantial Effect On Patient’s Survival

Ironically, the antiviral medication was even used to treat US President Donald Trump after he was tested positive for coronavirus.

Remdesivir, touted as a potential drug that can cure coronavirus, has no substantial effect on mortality of the COVID-19 positive patients. It has little effect on the duration of hospital stay and initiation of ventilation, indicated finding of highly anticipated Solidarity trial conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The trial was conducted in 30 countries and around 11,266 hospitalised patients were involved in this. Ironically, the antiviral medication was even used to treat US President Donald Trump after he was tested positive for coronavirus. The drug is among the first to be used as a treatment for COVID-19.

The ‘Solidarity’ trial by WHO evaluated the effects of four potential drug regimens. Apart from remdesivir, the other three were hydroxychloroquine, interferon, and anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir. It was found that the regimens appeared to have very little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course among hospitalized coronavirus patients, the WHO said on Thursday.

According to reports, the results of the trial are yet to be reviewed and will be then uploaded on the preprint server medRxiv.

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Earlier this month, a U.S. study of remdesivir by Gilead found that the treatment cut the coronavirus recovery time by five days compared with patients who got a placebo in a trial. The trial comprised of 1,062 patients.

“The emerging (WHO) data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of remdesivir,” Gilead was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“We are concerned the data from this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion, particularly given the limitations of the trial design.

ALSO READ | COVID-19: Early Stage Testing Of Inhalable Form Of Remdesivir Begins

According to Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of WHO, hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir were stopped in June during the study as they proved ineffective, but other trials continued in more than 500 hospitals and 30 countries.

“We’re looking at what’s next. We’re looking at monoclonal anti-bodies, we’re looking at immunomodulators and some of the newer anti-viral drugs that have been developed in the last few months,” Swaminathan said.

Remdesivir was given emergency use authorization from the United States Food and Drug Administration on May 1. It has since been authorized for use in several countries.

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