A recent study published on Tuesday found that Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) showed no antiviral activity in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in Norway.
Remdesivir is sold as an antiviral drug while HCQ is used to prevent or treat malaria. Researchers from Oslo university hospital and colleagues randomly assigned 181 hospital patients in 23 hospitals in Norway to receive Remdesivir, HCQ, or standard of care.
The ‘NOR-Solidarity’ study, an independent, add-on, randomised controlled trial to the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity trial, found that neither Remdesivir nor HCQ affected viral clearance in hospitalised patients with Covid-19.
The WHO solidarity trial had found no effect of Remdesivir or HCQ on mortality but did not assess antiviral effects of these drugs.
This study has been published in the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine and studied the effects of the drugs on all cause, in-hospital mortality, the degree of respiratory failure and inflammation, and viral clearance in the oropharynx.
There was no significant difference found between the treatment groups on mortality during hospitalisation according to the latest study as well as it was also seen that Remdesivir and HCQ did not affect the degree of respiratory failure or inflammation.
A significant decrease was seen in SARS-CoV-2 load in the oropharynx during the first week in all treatment groups in the study, with similar decreases in 10-day viral loads. Despite patient age, symptom duration, degree of viral load, and presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the lack of antiviral effect with Remdesivir and HCQ remained consistent.
Overall mortality in NOR-Solidarity was lower than in the WHO-Solidarity trial, noted the researchers.
The researchers said, this could be due to early lockdown policies in Norway during the initial phase of the pandemic, reducing pressure on hospitals and health care systems. They said Norway also had lower rates of comorbid conditions like diabetes and chronic heart disease.
Based on their findings, the researchers question the antiviral potential of Remdesivir and HCQ.